Support for non ex-jw spouses and friends

by flower 6 Replies latest jw friends

  • flower

    Has anyone here never been a JW but successfully helped an exjw through the roughest part of their experience by supporting them and assisting them in dealing with our unique issues?

    I dont know what to tell my friend who has never been a jw about how to deal with my brother who has only recently come to accept that his whole life was based on deception and untruth. Hes not dealing well and she is at her wits end and ready to walk out on him. Theres a lot more to it than that of course. She is coming to me for advice on how to deal and what to do but I am having difficulty comprehending things from a non victim (for lack of a better word) point of view because I was a jw for so long. If anyone has any advice for people on how to deal with a family member who is mentally exiting a cult I'd be glad to hear it. Or websites, articles ect..

  • joannadandy

    It's a sticky issue...I'm not sure I know how to answer it either. Most people who were never in can never comprehend, or want to comprehend what it means...I think that's why so many of us all get along so well...we finally come in contact with people who speak the same language as us, shared similar experiences, etc.

    If she is at her wits end, there probably is nothing she can do. I think the only thing non-jw can do to support ex-jw's to be a constant listening ear when needed, and someone who can just leave things alone when needed. Not many people have that type of patientce. She does need to know this is going to be a long painful road to recovery for your brother, and she will have to weigh the cost/benifit to her in maintaining such a high strain relationship.

    I hate to sound so defeatest, but it won't be easy for her or anyone involved.

  • jgnat

    I am a non-JW with a JW partner, so I believe I am qualified to answer this one. Do remember that the JWD board helps people in many situations, and various involvement with the WTS, including mine. And while there are some unique characteristics the way the WTS abuses its members, it is by no way the only abuser on this planet.

    People recover from this kind of trauma by having a strong support group and a place to talk. One mark of an abuser is that he/she/it isolates the survivor from any supports. The WTS not only cuts off former members, but it effectively cuts off any communication and support the non-JW partner desperately needs. This is affecting both your brother and your sister-in-law. I would strongly advise your brother and SIL to find a thrapist/counsellor help them work through this together.

    Your brother will likely be exhibiting anger and depression, and as your SIL is the closest person he has, she will bear the brunt of these feelings. Though dysfunctional, your SIL has learned to cope with your brother’s non-communicative style. If your brother learns to move past the betrayal and choses a healthier way to live, both your brother and SIL will come out happier than they have ever been. But the ride there will be rough. And your SIL will have to learn to live with a new (improved) kind of man.

    They need help. They can’t do it alone. I believe your SIL would benefit from this board as well, just for a place she can safely express all her feelings. I know it has been a great help to me.

    I prefer the term survivor, by the way, rather than victim.

  • flower

    Thanks Jgnat and Joanna!

  • Francois

    I'd suggest that your brother get himself into private therapy asap. A little later, perhaps group therapy with other ex-Cultists would be helpful. And regardless, your brother's wife will see that her husband is taking positive steps to resolve his issues and his technique doesn't involve her.

    You can't tell where I'm comin' from 'less you been where I been, you see where I'm at?

    I really think this is best. And too, it's a dangerous time for him. It's at this very moment that he is most vulnerable to joining up with some other kinda cult: religious, social, political, something that will fill the vacuum.


  • flower


    question do you suggest to someone that they need professional help? without them getting offended and pushing you away for good.

  • zev


    is your brother "local"?

    there is a support center not to far away from you that can help him. if he is local, email me and i can provide you with the contact information.

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