I'm new to this site - have been checking it out for the past few nights. I was raised as a JW from the age of 6. I am now 26 and have two children. Being in the truth was always a rather conflicting thing for me. Dad always seemed to be at odds with some elder and mum was all for education and allowed us to have worldly friends. (she was chastised for this). Despite this I was always very serious and strict on myself and did not have any boyfriends etc.. throughout highschool.
Dad was strict and did not mind strapping us as kids. I remember one year we had attended an assembly in a remote area during a heat wave. We were laughing and playing up in the car - when we finally arrived home later that night he strapped us stupid for it.
He eventually left mum and the "truth" when I was 15. Mum was devestated and not coping well. As the eldest child I was desperately trying to hold everything together. We were in a new town at this stage and I sought out the JW's for security. My self esteem took a nose dive at this point. We were now a single parent family and to this day I can still feel the horrible feelings this caused. For 4 long years we were judged and ignored because we didn't have a man at the helm. This was especially damaging for my 2 brothers. My mum asked a couple of the "brothers" if my bro (14yrs at the time) could spend some time with them during the school holidays. (good association etc. etc) They happily picked him up at 5:00am every morning for 2 weeks - he work until 5:00pm with them as a builders labourer. At the end of the 2 weeks they 'dismissed' him without giving him so much as a dollar or a thankyou. In fact they ordered a pizza, sat down, and ate it without offering him a slice. I have plenty of other unjust stories where so called "brothers" reluctantly spent token time with the boys at mums request. The only time one family visited our home was when they accused my brother of calling their son names on the school bus. In fact both boys had been arguing and calling each other names but because he had a mino servant father the power they yielded was ridiculous. He actually told us that the name calling was 'slander'. Mum was in tears and I remember feeling so helpless and angry for her. The boys were only 12. Hard to believe now!
After completing senior high school I started "courting" a witness guy. Of course, because I had never dated before, I was completely swept off my feet. My exit score from highschool allowed me to get into the course of my choice at uni, but wanting to impress my zealous mother in law, I rejected my place at uni and auxillary pioneered. Eventually, we slept together and this caused me such mental anguish. I really felt I had failed God and at 18 instead of feeling happy and young, I sat in a park holding my bible and crying. After the humiliation of facing a committee of elders for this (on more than one occasion) my self esteem was chipped away slowly but surely. I really felt I had made a committment to God by what I had done and married very young.
Looking back on this I feel so sad; I was/still am attractive and intelligent (sorry, I am not up myself but I need to explain this to get across the full picture as you will see) The man I married was the complete opposite, but he was a 'good' witness and at this vulnerable time in my life he seemed like a safe choice. A year into the marriage his 'spirituality' slowly went by the wayside and we grew apart. I was pregnant so we kept it together and put on a brave front. He was never encouraged to study or get a trade (apart from pioneering of course) while young so finding a way to provide for the family was never easy. By 2000 I was pregnant again; this time we had a boy so the pressure to stay together was even stronger. To cut a long story short our differences today are so glaring and you can't help but sit and ponder the would-a should-a coulda-s. Especially seeing as he dropped out of the truth anyway.
So here we are in the present - I have been inactive or in denial! for a while. Even looking at this website was a big step for me as I felt it was 'apostate' (I'm gonna get fried at armaggeddon for this!) and all that stuff at first. I now realise it is part of my healing and confidence re building.
I am a full time university student and mum to two beautiful kids. I am studying criminology and plan on becoming a police officer (detective) next year (shock, horror). Mum fully supports me (by the way, after dad left, mum single handedly raised 4 children, kept a part time job, went to Uni, suffered the scorn and ignorance of the "congregation, and is now a high school teacher.) She decided to give the truth the flick about 4 years ago. My husband's mum on the other hand is still a zealot - 'how can you allow the kids to die at armaggeddon,' 'why would you do that when you can plainly see armaggeddon is coming' and all of that. I guess I just decided that another 8 years is not going to just pass me by. In fact, I am becoming so liberated in my thinking I successfully applied for the army reserves for the confidence and team building/work experience while I am at uni. We have to keep this a secret from my mother in law or she will completely disown me and I don't want the kids to stop seeing their nanna.
This was the first year that I missed the memorial. (ESPECIALLY had to lie to the mother in law about this). I still feel confused by the whole religion thing sometimes but all I know is that I can't go back to the meetings. Growing up I was always terrifed of armaggeddon, but that is starting to wear out. I still wonder what is going to happen in the future?? I love university and meeting some really nice 'worldly' people that are out there. We also have lovely 'worldly' neighbours who we adore. My confidence has grown so much and I have learnt heaps. The only sad thing is that the relationship with my husband is straining and we plan on separating. I feel sorry for him as he suffered sexual abuse while growing up and was also raised in a single parent family. He is very resentful towards his mother and the organisation now; she was still telling him who to associate with at the age of 21 and was always pushing him to pioneer and reach out for 'priveledges'. Unfortunately this reaching out did not include education or work skills and his confidence was also battered. At the age of 30 he is only now realising that it is not wrong to seek out a career path and is looking into a few options. We will always have that special bond because of our children, but we are two very different people who met at a young and vulnerable age.
I have really raved on here. I only meant to read this site again but all of this stuff has just spewed out. I have enjoyed the other stories and can relate to a lot of them. Hope this is not too long or boring but it is a relief to get rid of some guilt.