@BluePill2: Yep, freedom is expensive these days Sad to read that you don't know where your parents live anymore. When I got married again five years ago I've sent my parents a wedding-card and the same calendar we gave everybody at the wedding (with our names and wedding date printed on it). On the back of the envelope I wrote my new address. Later I've heard that they shredded it all. So when we emigrated to Spain early this year I left without notice. They have no idea where I live right now.
I've also seen some episodes of 'Locked up abroad' and came to the same conclusion as you did: as an ex-JW one is treated worse than most criminals will ever be by their own family. How crazy is that
@Xanthippe: I've seen that same 'play' with my family. When my (non JW) grandmother died, my dad called me out of the blue and told me that if I wanted to attend the funeral I was welcome to come. So I did and brought my then fiance (now husband). What happened there really shocked me. I was prepared for being shunned by my parents and siblings, except for my non JW sister (she's lovely), but quite the contrary happened!
My brother kissed and hugged me, my other sisters cried and hugged me, my mother came to me and kissed and hugged me (something very weird, she was never very cuddly towards me) and even my dad was warm and loving. I was flabbergasted and of course, being the sissy I am, I started to cry and was afraid I would never be able to stop.
My mother even dared to ask 'why are you crying? It's all right now'... And she had me there... I believed her... (should've know better though).
Of course the rest of the people attending the funeral were all non JW's and a lot of them were relatives of my mother (it was her mother that had died). Afterwards we were invited to drink coffee with all of them at the funeral home, so we did. One of my sisters gave birth to her son a couple of months before, but she didn't send me a birth announcement card. After the funeral however she came up to me with my new nephew and asked me if I wanted to hold him for a while, which I did. It was the weirdest thing... Normally I would have been the first to visit when a new baby arrived in the family, now this baby was already a couple of months old and I had never seen him before. His sister, my niece, was around nine at that time and I overheard her saying "aunt Bruja is crazy"... which really hurt me, since I did nothing but love her ever since she was born, but apparantly that's what they had told her, that I was crazy. My sister, her mother, heard it as well and shushed her immediately! Yeah right... too late, I heard it!
After the coffee my mother asked me if we wanted to join them, since her cousin and his wife were coming over to my parents house... My jaw dropped... I hadn't been to my parents' for years and now my mother was inviting me! I couldn't resist, so we went there. It was really nice. I talked to my brother, my sisters, my parents asked us about our life, what we were doing, just normal stuff like nothing had ever happened! And again I bought it... I believed it all, it felt so genuine. I really thought this was the turning point, everything would be allright from that day on and we would become a normal family after all and live happily ever after.
The minute we said we were going to head back home, I saw the looks on their faces change. My brother and sister stepped back into their cult personalities and when I asked if we could email each other every now an then, just to keep each other updated about how things were, they both replied that this was not an option. "You know what to do if you want contact with us", "you've abandoned Jehovah", "you have to be reinstated before things can be good again" etc.. The blinds came down again, the shunning started that very second all over again.
After that I've never heard from them again*. I put a blog online shortly after the funeral to vent my disappointment, I realized my parents just needed me at their house to show the 'worldly' relatives of my mother that she had a happy family and all her children together. If I hadn't been there some questions might have been asked about their missing daughter... 'where is she? what happened?'... The family is not very positive about JW's. The embarressment to have to tell them the truth would've been too big for them, so they'd rather let me in their home to let me play my part in their charade. I felt disgusted when I realized I had been used and I wrote that whole story in my blog. My mother and youngest sister read it too, and they started a smear campaign on the internet, writing anywhere my husband or I wrote something that we were swindlers and telling lies about us. Up until today this has snowballed through the internet and other people (whom we've never met) started to add more lies to it. So when you look up my real name in Google, or my husband's, it looks like we're sort of a 'Bonny & Clyde'-couple... Really hurtful, since none of it is true, but there's nothing one can do to fight the so called 'free speech', anybody can write whatever they want about anybody. No proof needed, lies, hearsay, just write it down and post it online. The internet and Google will make sure it spreads like oil in the Gulf of Mexico...
* Oh yes, last year I received an email from my brother... asking me if I had any recordings of a song I used to play and sing, since he wanted to learn it too and couldn't find it on youtube... This year I found a lesson online with that specific song, so I sent him the link and wrote a few lines. I received an email in return that contact was not an option as long as I was DF'd and that he would wait patiently for me to return. Can you imagine that??? He needs something and contacts me, but when I contact him it's not an option to stay in touch. The hypocrite
So that's my story, that's why I closed my door for most of my family. And actually, writing this whole thing down makes me wonder why I even hope that my sister and brother will get out of the cult... I don't think I have anything to say to them anymore.
Sorry for the long story, had to get it off my chest now the topic's been brought up
@love2Bworldly: I have that same regret. No friends from my youth... well, that's not quite true... My husband was my classmate and we fell in love when we were in school, 16 and 18 years old. But my parents didn't approve since he wasn't a JW, so he was kicked out of my life by my father. Took me nearly 18 years to find him again and now he's my best friend EVER and the one that knows me the longest (and the best, sometimes better than I know myself )