Dealing with Elderly Parents Who Still Believe the jw Religion is the truth

by lancelink 27 Replies latest jw experiences

  • lancelink

    I left the religion back in 2008 right after my Mother died,( the total lack of natural love/ affection was the final straw for me).

    but my Dad has become more and more focused on doing the wt bidding.

    It just amazes me how he gushes on and on about the last days, his new Bible studies, and meeting parts . But yet he makes no effort to have any type of relationship with his Grandkids, there are 5 of them , non are witnesses. They are the children from several different sisters of mine, and myself.

    So how do you deal with the witness stuff always being presented in conversations?

    I've resigned myself to letting him go on with his fantasy in his age. I'm not about ready to crush the little hope he has for the future. But it is very grating for me to bite my tongue and listen to the "wonderful future" that he honestly believes is going to happen very shortly. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜œ

  • just fine
    just fine

    We have a sort of truce that says anything JW related is off limits. On the rare occasion it does come up I treat it like I do anything else people talk about that doesn't interest me. Nod, smile, say that's nice and change the subject.

  • joe134cd

    Your father at this stage of life is better off been left there. If he was to wake up to TTATT, he would be dead with in a year or two. Just grin and bear it.

  • Finally Left
    Finally Left

    I have the same problem. I just visited my parents. They live half way across the US so they have no way of knowing if I go to the meetings or not. My dad is 84 and tells me about service, meetings.... I left the truth in February of this year and I could not bring myself to tell him.

    it keeps him busy. He takes lots of pictures of the friends. If he didn't go he would have no one to talk to as we do not make "worldly friends". I did mention the Australian Royal Commission. My mom was interested but my dads eyes just glassed over. He did not want to hear it.

    At this stage in their life I think it is best to let them think they are doing what they should.

  • LisaRose

    I can see why that would be very difficult. On the one hand he has something that is meaningful to him, and of course he has a right to his own beliefs and it would probably not benefit him to lose it at this point. On the other hand it's hard to listen to him spouting nonsense without saying anything.

    I guess if it were me I would not say anything unless he tried to get me to agree with him, in which case I would just respond "Dad, this is something that we have to agree to disagree on. Hey how about those (local team name)?

  • Dagney

    Very familiar with this subject.

    I left in 2001, and my mother lived faithful until her passing in 2010 at 98 1/2. One of the things I resented and still resent is because of the WBTS, she was so so so worried about my imminent destruction. She really wanted to save me. I avoided ALL discussions about da troof. Whenever she wanted to share something I just said "that's great!" "how nice" or such in a manner that conveyed a response but no discussion. When she offered a magazine I acted happy to see it. Change the subject. It's pretty easy when they are that old. I played the "christian" card when she started misbehaving. "Hmmm...WWJD." Seriously. It stopped her.

    My feeling is I could not change her, and the religion gave her something she needed. I would reassure her things will be fine and not to worry. She wrote me some crazy letters trying to save me that to this day brings tears to my eyes because I knew it took a lot of thought and energy, and worry on her part. I hate the GD WBTS. Needless worry. Sigh.

    I had to accept the fact that she was probably co-dependent on the society, and if it wasn't this, it would have been somebody else. They just were the ones that came knockin. I wish it would have been different, but it wasn't.

    My advice is to not engage. He will continue to try to save you. Keep the peace. And this situation with that generation not being too attached to grandkids, it seems a bit common with the WBTS. Weird and frustrating I know, but it is what it is. Whenever he brings up any congregation or WT news, just act happy and complementary about it. 5 baptised? "That's wonderful!" and change the subject even though you want to barf. There always is a bit of anxiety around it...but concentrate on keeping the exchange peaceful and be in control. It seems to end the conversation quickly for some reason.

    Good luck!

  • Pete Zahut
    Pete Zahut

    Like most JW's it is likely that your father has steeped himself in the religion more so these days, not out of a growing concern for others, rather it is because he realizes he has reached the stage in life where he is "circling the drain" and time is running out.

    Many JW's have convinced themselves that they love their neighbor but the main motivation for them is to save their own skin. If he was motivated by love, he would do all he could to reach his own grandchildren instead of focusing on knocking on the empty door of strangers. If he focused on his grandchildren however, he'd have to be more than a friendly stranger at the door who can walk away as soon as things get tough. With his grandchildren, he'd have to be himself and he'd have to stick around even when they asked tough questions that he has no answer for. It's easier for him to go through the motions and choose the other busy work that is part of being a JW. That way he can feel good about not having really done anything real.

    Coming to terms with ones own mortality is something that is best done gradually over ones lifetime rather than all at once. You are kind to let him continue on with the magical thinking that gets him through his days and nights, now that he has reached this stage in life. One day when he is gone, you will look back and feel good about having done your part to make his last years reasonably peaceful.

  • mentalclarity

    I just listen and smile and then try to change the subject. I'm not overtly shunned and there's no trying to "save" me so mostly it's just talk about their life which includes bible studies, assemblies and the like. When I first left there was some awkwardness about talking JW things but at some point I realized this was so much a part of my elderly mom's life that why should she have to filter it for my sake? Again, she wasn't trying to preach to me..just commenting on her life so I just listen and I can tell she's much more relaxed and feels comfortable around me.

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel

    LanceLink ยป I left the religion back in 2008 right after my Mother died, (the total lack of natural love/ affection was the final straw for me). But my Dad has become more and more focused on doing the wt bidding.

    Yes, his entire life has been an investment in his religion. As he nears the end, he's thinking about the cashout.

    This is sad. He's consolidated his assets, written off you and your kids and has told himself there's nothing else he can do.

    So how do you deal with the witness stuff always being presented in conversations?

    The "stuff" he's always being presented with is the very stuff he's been investing in. You go to the Kingdom Hall, you soak up the lessons, and you incorporate it into your sad, pathetic life. I say it's sad and pathetic, because of the expectations it lays out for your friends and family. You learn to live with the fact that your best friends in this life are going to be "Zapperrected"ยฉ (a cross between zapped and resurrected -- remember those insect zappers? Same concept. Once a loved one gets resurrected you hear a zapping not unlike those zappers and zap! They're gone! Zapperrected. Sorry, there's no cure. The religion is based on the concept that the elect make it, everyone else are like those bugs. Zapped out of existence!c

  • stuckinarut2

    Very moving replies on this thread!

    It is probably one of the hardest things to comprehend...that our aging family would rather bury their heads in the sand than accept TRUTH.

    When I calmly raised the topic of why we don't go to meetings, my elder father snapped back "I think this topic is over!" He then said "Son, I love you and would die for you" I cut him off and said "Dad, I call garbage on that, because Im not asking you to die for me, but rather to simply have a calm and rational conversation...but you wont do that. So that seems hypocritical"

Share this