Why is the approval of family so important?
@pbrow That is some quantum sh*t right there. Damn! I actually cried two days ago to my father and asked how he could have brought me up as a Witness. Having been born in the 1930s and a Witness since the 50s - and an elder since the 60s - he was alive well into the "Great Apostasy" with Raymond Franz. Surely he had avenues to explore for himself what the truth about the truth was? And yet he turned a blind eye. I swore to him up and down that because of the knowledge I now have about the WTBTS, I simply do not have the RIGHT to indoctrinate my toddler into this group. That would be disingenuous and utterly cruel to tamper with my child's mental faculties in this way.
We probably grow up trying to get the approval of our parents-- so it's built into our psyche.
As a JW we were infantilized! We had our natural flesh and blood allegiance transferred to a surrogate family whose leaders claim to be looking after us. But they don't care a fig.The new paternal authority, the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses says that the old parents must now come second!
Actually the aim of the leaders of the new family is to suck the living daylights out of the followers and relieve them of their old family's wealth. . . and they are very successful at it.
We are all hard wired to want to belong, more so from the very people who gave us life. Every person born wants to be accepted, especially by their parents.
The shunning that WT promotes is a despicable practice. This is one thing that can really mess up a person. When my spouse and I decided to make our exit, it was due to observing how others treated a family member who was DF'd. It was one of the saddest and cruel things we witnessed. How the hell is someone supposed to receive any help they need in life if we just kick em out and never speak to them?
I could never do it to my children. I have too much love for them. I couldn't live with myself.
This practice is is barbaric and in my opinion should be on the list of a hate crime.
Via the internet, WT is showing it's true colors. With all of the propaganda videos, showing the rank and file what WT believe is a "loving arrangement", WT is letting the public know what kind of organization it is. If it continues the way it has been, I believe you will see more and more people make their exit. Ones who decide to remain may leave once their Elderly parents pass away. We have wondered how many remain, waiting for their parents to pass.
It breaks my heart to hear ones on this site who miss their parents and have to live with their disapproval. This should NEVER happen to anyone. NEVER! WT has a lot to answer for.
I think it's natural to seek approval from your parents. Especially if you've received it for a good bit of your life until you decided to stop being a JW. I would think that's why the ones who leave are usually "the black sheep" of the family (acting up even before leaving)- meaning they probably stopped getting approval a while back so it didn't really matter so much to lose it.
Eventually you come to terms with it- you just accept that no JW will ever support your decision to leave and they will feel inclined to read literature, ask elders, etc to figure out how they should handle you. This is what has happened in my family. But I'm lucky that my mom (btw- all of my family except me is extremely "active") continues to have a relationship with me although I've been inactive almost a decade. She does support me in what she can...my choices in education, career, etc. I like what another poster said about still treating them well even though you aren't getting that treatment back. I always send cute pics of my kids to all my family, congratulate them on graduations,etc even though I might not get a response. They can decide how they treat me and I decide how I will treat others regardless.
I have alot of people in my life who show me love and support- I think sometimes you just have to realize that it might not be from the people you expect or want. But why focus on the person who is treating you like shit or not giving you what you want/need when you could choose to focus on all the people who show their love and care on a daily basis. That's why it's so important to find people like that. The more positive people are around you, the less you'll "need" your family. Think of them as people who are sick and just incapable of loving you the way you need to be loved. There are alot of people who have parents like that (think mental illness, addiction,etc)
The family that doesn't contact me are just following rules- it's not personal. I finally got that at some point so I don't have to be proving what a wonderful person I am to them..or convince them they are insane for following these rules....
I don't really have time to try to figure out why my family continues to be in this religion or why they raised me in it. I don't get too much out of that myself and I just go around in circles and it doesn't change the past or how they treat me now. Obviously I'm not raising my kids that way - that's about all I can do.
" Obviously I'm not raising my kids that way - that's about all I can do."\
That is a great point. Even though we ourselves have been scarred and hurt, we can give our kids the things we may not be receiving....like unconditional love. They will thank us for that one day.
I apologized to my kids a couple of years back. I told them that I hope we didn't screw them up too badly. One child said, "mom, I'm doing fine." That is all I needed to hear.
When I made the decision to leave I had to give up the notion of having my parents approval. It was very difficult. Once I realized the manipulation I was able to better deal with it. Being able to see emotional blackmail for what it is has helped me to be less emotionally engaged. It's a sad reality for most who try to leave this cult.
I do not believe that every JW wants to shun close family members. Certainly hard core uber JW's probably look at it as a badge of honor. With family business being relegated to financial issues.
In a normal family relationship 'family business' is about big ticket family stuff like health issues, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, Mom and Pop, higher education and of course........family deaths. But instead of that normal approach the WTBTS calls for a lifetime of punishment over shit that they made up.
Another section of JW's are in such fear of being DF and shunned, if they have a normal family relationship with a DF or DA person, they bow and cower to the Society's coercion. They are compelled to do something they never would elect to do because of the punishment that hangs over their heads.
The rest of the JW's say fuck it and secretly keep the lines of communication open.
The delusional nature of the JW's stands out in this and a few other key issues.
The short answer is that we are made that way. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have left their imprint on us: we are social animals. We need to belong.
Belonging has been a survival instinct for us and our pre-human ancestors. Ostracism, or even the threat of it, has always been one of the most powerful tools of control of social groups. This dates back to our tribal past.
It is an interesting sociological question to ask: Why do some people leave a group when the personal emotional cost is so high? This is something I've been pondering and researching for a couple of years now. The answers I've found are not so clear-cut and are largely anecdotal. One this is clear, there is only a weak correlation between intelligence and cult involvement. There are highly intelligent people that join cults and remain in them their whole lives. Conversely, there are individuals of less than average intelligence that seem to somehow be resistant cult propaganda. Interestingly, some studies show that creative people are actually more likely to fall for cult beliefs!
What does seem to make the difference is that people that leave high-demand, authoritarian environments (that's academicese for "cults") tend to be more personally self-aware of their own thoughts and motivations and have a higher commitment to self than the group. Additionally, they possess sufficient personal integrity and courage to live separately in spite of the emotionally painful consequences associated with leaving.
I also suspect that many that leave a cult naively think that somehow their ties to their family is so strong that they will be the exception and their loved ones will not shun them when they leave. Agains, it's anecdotal evidence, but my personal experience has been confirmed by reading the stories of literally hundreds of JWs that have left the religion.
So many people think that if they "just fade" their still-in families will continue to treat them as before. Although it does work out positively for some few, the majority seem surprised to find that they are cut-off completely simply because they no longer "go to meetings."
To add another perspective to this thread, it's not just painful when parents shun their children, it is also very difficult when children shun their parents.
Wake Me Up: What does PIMO stand for?
PIMO = Physically In, Mentally Out.
At the risk of stating the obvious, this refers to people that no longer believe that JWs "have the truth," but continue to attend meetings and pretend to believe for various reasons--usually to avoid being shunned by their family members.
As jwfacts wrote: "One of the reasons people remain PIMO is fear of losing family." I would contend that that is the main reason, if not the only one.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke, Irish political philosopher (1729 - 1797)
Thank you, jp1692. Once again, well put.
May I ask, do a lot of the ex-Witnesses you encounter seem to be genuine, sincere people with big hearts? Charismatic? Thoughtful? Hungry for knowledge? Sensitive? Humorous?
I have this sneaking suspicion that the ones who never make the cut as Witnesses are a mixture of all of the above - traits that could never flourish in the Witness community. Characteristics that betrayed the individual's sense of conformity to the stringent mold WT has everyone conform to. Forward-thinkers with compassion and a desire to genuinely learn more, such as Raymond Franz, were quickly rooted out and ostracized for being just so.
It almost appears to me that to be a Witness, one must be academically dishonest, disloyal to their natural instincts when it comes to love and mercy, unmotivated to do any research for themselves, easily offended by outside stimuli, judgmental toward others and callous to the plight of those in emotional turmoil around them.
I'm making a sweeping generalization here, but I would love to hear you weigh in on this based on your experience.