Cutting the emotional ties with family

by feenx 7 Replies latest jw friends

  • feenx

    It's been quite a while since I posted here... so HELLO everyboday!

    This time of year is always an interesting one for me emotionally. My parents anniversary, which we all know was the one thing anyone ever celebrated, is two days after my birthday. And this October will be 10 years since being DF'd. But even after this long, I still find this time of year difficult as it reminds me of them.

    Despite having grown into an amazing person, being happy in life, becoming more spiritual than I ever would have inside the organization... I still find myself with pain over this unmovable barrier between myself and my family. And I resent their inability, or unwillingness, to move around it. Which then makes me feel like a bit of a hypocrite, because neither will I.

    My conviction, in the opposite, is just as strong as theirs.

    So I find myself in a place where there are amazing things calling to me. A magical path putting steps in front of me one at a time.

    But this emotional monkey on my back is wearing me down. And I honestly, am not sure how to effectively shed it.

    Therapists have told me to mourn their loss, as if they were dead. I tried that, and I thought it worked... but I think in the end it was more of a distraction than a solution.

    Anyone had any luck with this?

    I would so very much appreciate some feedback :)


  • Scully

    I think what a lot of us are mourning when we lose our family to the JW mindset, is not so much the people they are, but the people we hoped they could be. Our idealized notion that "family" would mean more to them than ties to a belief system.

    We are not orphaned in a literal sense, but because of the JW belief system we find that we have to fend for ourselves, with a very important support system denied to us. We are, in a very real way, all alone in the world.

    It's okay for these reminders to haunt us. When a family member dies, the days on the calendar that mark important events become bittersweet because of the loss. We remember the good times with that loved one, and feel the sting that the person is no longer there. You can bet that the JW relatives feel that sting too, but they are the ones who chose the path of shunning over the path of love and acceptance and tolerance. They drew the line in the sand, and they must live with their choice just as we must live with it.

    It takes time, but it is important to cultivate new friendships and build a new "family" around us. They can help soften the sting of the past, of the family that rejects us in favour of their so-called faith. We don't have to settle for a life without community. It's something we can choose and embrace, when we find people who accept us for who we are, who don't base their opinions about us on the hours on a Field Service Reportâ„¢. They can have interests similar to ours, or ones that open up a world of diversity for us and help us learn new things and have experiences that we never would have had otherwise.

    Most of the time, I don't give the JWs I used to know a second thought, I realized that I gave them far more of myself than they deserved and I really didn't get anything back for my care and compassion for them. But, like you, I have days when I think about my JW family members and wish how things could be different, and then I think about what having them back in my life would cost in terms of going back to the belief system. It isn't worth the price I'd have to pay to have them in my life. I could never relinquish my ability to think critically, to unsee what I've seen, to un-know the things I know. My freedom - mentally, emotionally, spiritually - is far too valuable.

  • finally awake
    finally awake

    I don't know. I'm almost 42 years old and I'm still struggling with the fact that my father has never had the slightest bit of interest in me. It's not really JW related, since I wasn't raised as a witness and he's Catholic. It sucks to be cut off and ignored completely by someone who is supposed to love you unconditionally, and for his choice to also cause you to have no relationship at all with anyone on his side of the family. I *still* feel abandoned, and despite years of therapy and a lot of effort to deal with this, I don't know if I'll ever really be "over" it.

  • LV101

    I've no family of origin in the borg but have a couple of my very own inside the cult but know the pain of rejection/abandonment, jealousy, evil, from my own mother and sibling. All I can say is time helps but the hardest thing for me was accepting the PAIN will always be there and it will never go away --- you learn to live with it and all of a sudden you get stronger and stronger and it's not so intense or devastating.

    I know some 12-step programs (co-dependency meetup group under for your city's listing) been helpful for some and they meet others who are striving to live/deal w/their families or other relationships.

    I have a book in mind and will try to remember which one --- or a chapter in one that really helped me the most -- I think the greatest pain is accepting and giving up your fantasies for a mommy/daddybear family that loves you, cares for you regardless of the cult and giving of that fantasy means pain, real pain as you are finding out. You have to give up HOPE and that's the hardest thing in life to do.

    Best to you.


  • jamiebowers
    Despite having grown into an amazing person, being happy in life, becoming more spiritual than I ever would have inside the organization... I still find myself with pain over this unmovable barrier between myself and my family. And I resent their inability, or unwillingness, to move around it. Which then makes me feel like a bit of a hypocrite, because neither will I.

    First off, Feenx, you are not a hypocrite! Your prents remain victims of mind control, and you do not. Please read Scully's post several times. She made a lot of good points.

  • feenx

    Thank you so much everybody for your replies!! It's some good info that has given me wonderful food for thought. I'm greatful for always having a listening ear with people who actually understand what's being said.

    I feel some interesting things coming folks.... I'll keep you posted ;)

  • moshe

    The WT religion is a like a brand- their unique brand of religious doctrines guarantees that JWs can cheat death and go straight to a paradise Earth, after a few billion humans are killed at the battle of armageddon- JWs are hooked on this religious mantra they get every month from the WT publishing company- the company tries real hard to supply the "meat in due season" that JWs crave- they are just providing a service, not unlike a paid clergyman in a church who makes sure his parishioners leave church feeling good about their Jesus and his promise of everlasting life in Heaven.

    It would be better if your parents changed to your brand of beer, but that may never happen-- good luck--

  • OnTheWayOut

    Feenx, I don't have a similar situation, so I can't offer any thoughts on anything I tried. Your therapist's suggestion sounds good, but you still know they are alive and able to change their shunning status.

    It probably won't solve your problems, but I do suggest reading a book by Steve Hassan. I would suggest reading his second book, RELEASING THE BONDS, but supposedly his third book, FREEDOM OF MIND, is shorter and updated and less expensive. (I say 'supposedly' because I have only read the first two, but I have started FREEDOM OF MIND.) I know it's available as an ebook from or and as a printed book. The reason I say this is that if you cannot get past their being out of your life, then you might need to do something to at least know that you did what you could do.

    One thing I learned from reading RELEASING THE BONDS is that you can reach out to cult members in non-threatening ways. You can send photos that have nothing to do with opposing thoughts to theirs, but might include you and your accomplishments or travels. You can send photos and cards that reflect on good times of the past, when you were younger and not being shunned. You can drop a card or letter that just says "Hi." You can ignore the shunning when you do that and try to reach out. Heck, you can even send a gift. You may not get a response. But you tried.

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