Why is the approval of family so important?

by jwfacts 30 Replies latest jw experiences

  • undercover

    For me, it's not the acceptance or approval of parents. I really don't care if they accept me or not. They're the ones that raised me in a cult. While they're victims themselves, they're responsible for a lot of my issues being raised this way. I haven't spoken to either of them in some time... and they live within just a few miles of me. I reach out to check on them occasionally, trying to be a dutiful son caring for elderly parents and all that, but they don't appreciate it. They never contact me for anything. So life goes on.

    My wife is my importance. I con't crave her acceptance as much as I crave our relationship as a couple. And if I can get her mind free and clear of WT influence, then I will have accomplished my mission.

    But I am not PIMO, I am POMO. So maybe that has something to do with it.

  • mentalclarity

    I think it's really difficult when you have to take a stand and basically say to your mom or dad that the fact that they raised you as a JW was wrong and you are taking a different route. My mom wasn't a horrible person, she was doing what she thought was in our best interest (to her thinking) and I'm sure it was difficult to work/study and be a JW dragging your kids to meetings, service, etc. She did it because she believed wholeheartedly. And there is almost a sense of ungratefulness for everything she did for us as kids - all the sacrifices a parent does- by saying you no longer want to be a JW. It's not like saying.."Hey mom, I want to be an environmentalist, not an engineer" You have to be defiant and basically say, " You were very wrong in teaching me this religion and dedicating your life to it". You just can't be nice about it. So it's not just an approval thing- there are multiple layers. They have to admit they might be wrong in order to allow you to have your own life.I don't want approval but it's taken me a while to not feel like I'm the ingrate in the family or that I'm not the crazy one. The more family you have inside the more you tend to doubt your own sanity at times.

  • Island Man
    Island Man

    Craving the approval of your group is a basic psychological trait of social species, and there is no more important group than your own family.

    Watchtower's admitted use of shunning by family to manipulate X-JWs into returning, actually contradicts Matthew 10:37 which says:

    "Whoever has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and whoever has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me."

    If true disciples are to love Jesus more than family then they should be returning to the fold because of their love for Jesus and not because they crave association with family that is being withheld through shunning. By saying that X-JWs won't return if family associate with them, Watchtower is unwittingly conceding that JWs love family more than Jesus, and therefore it requires taking away their family to manipulate them to return to Jesus. A kidnapper holds family ransom for money because he assumes the wealthy value their family more than money. Therefore, if Watchtower uses shunning to hold your family ransom in exchange for your return to Jesus/their cult, it must mean they assume you value your family more than Jesus/their cult.

  • Chook

    All Jw parents are guilty of child abuse , the fairytales of fear and guilt indoctrination are what these cult affected parents dished out. Family has ties that go beyond normal relationships in everything from farting in their presence to tolerance of anger levels. We are generally attracted to people of same thinking and family thinking is hereditary, attitudes of parents rub off on kids . The scariest part about parents is the things you often hate about your parents are the same traits that you sometimes exhibit. Blood links throughout history have proved the timeless. We as humans desire at least some approval from those close to us , family normally is closest, JWs twist this arrangement as to put the Warwick corporation above blood ties and it's driven home continually with twisted scripture.

    Some of the the people on here are the most broken in the world due to the shunning policies, it might seem crazy but there are people on here that pour out their hearts to our members more than they ever did to their parents. We all want to be loved by someone and generally family fills that role, with JWs that dynamic changes, so our relationship needs need to be met by others. It's just another consequence of the cult.

  • millie210

    If we take the original premise and reverse it we see an interesting facet also.

    The "org" knows how powerful this family tie is = thus the use of it as a threat to keep people "in".

  • sparrowdown

    I think approval of parents and family can be so hard to let go of as adult ex jws because as a JW you never really have unconditional approval from them. You are only ever as "good" as your last good works.

    If your good works slip your family's approval rating of you slips as well, that's not true approval or love that's doling out treats for desired behavior and withdrawing it for unwanted behavior, like training an animal!

    WT indoctrinates its members that approval from other witnesses is more important than life itself.

    How WT screws people and families up is gift that keeps giving, that's for sure.

  • jp1692

    WakeMe, those are great questions.

    Rather than hijacking this thread by going off on a tangent, I'll answer you in a PM.

  • zeb

    Pbrow. my thoughts exactly.Your craving acceptance from your parents is your cognitive dissonance

  • jwfacts

    Thanks for all the great comments. A lot of different perspectives.

    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.

    Wham - that may be a bit harsh. Your summary is correct, but I know a lot of really nice, genuine JWs, which I have pondered for years in an attempt to reconcile. Cognitive dissonance is the go to answer. I also like to think that at the core JWs are so beaten down that they don't trust their own judgment. Who are they, as mere mortals, to question Jehovah (AKA Watchtower governing body leadership)?

  • tor1500


    Great replies. I like the one where they say if your family members don't want to talk to you. It's their lost. If a mom or dad can shun their own children because they don't want to be witnesses or that they get df'd for just being human. You have to ask yourself do they really love them?

    Just because you are a parent does not mean they are like Donna Reed or any of those tv moms and dads.

    I do get it though. My husband is a middle child and still he craves attention, so I give to him.

    Many lack self esteem and replaced it with crowd esteem. So some people crave approval 24/7. I have a friend and her mom did the best she could. It was a big family. But she could never do enough. FYI: there was a father but he was away a lot to make money to feed the family. Until this day my friend still seeks approval and her mother has since died. So sometimes she'll call me and say. "You'll be so proud of me....". I'm not her mom and I have made some not too wise choices so I'm not the one she should tell. But I realize it's really about not ever being able to please her mom. But in defense of her mom all the kids went to college. They are kind of messed up but in a large family that can happen.

    We all want to have a sense of belonging. Some more than others. At the end of the day. We all want someplace to rest our hearts.


Share this