New Boy, I hope your children that resent you for not leaving the JDub sooner, take more time to think about your circumstances.
Hatred From My Children for Not Leaving the Organization Earlier
I apologized to my son today, in person. It wasn't just the JW thing. His life kind of went to shit after his divorcee. I have become a giant pinata for him. The JW thing was just one of many ways he can point out my short comings....which of course are many.
He has plenty of time to sit around and think about how screwed over he is. The many poor choices he and other people like me have made that has created the hell he is now in.
The blame game....
Funny how family members know all your hot buttons. I already feel bad enough about my many wasted years as a Jehovah's Witness and than to get it all thrown back into my face.....salt on the wound.
As parents sometimes the best thing we can do is listen. It’s big that he feels comfortable enough to be open about his feelings with you.
Hopefully getting things off his chest is part of his healing and growth. Overtime hopefully he we get to understand why you did things your way and that you did the best with what you had.
It was a gamble, you placed your bets where you thought the odds were in you and your family’s favor.
Thanks for sharing. Reading the OP feels like reading about my life now. I started waking up about 5 years ago. My youngest is 21 now. All three of my children were having regular bible studies on the path to baptism, going out in field service regularly. My oldest was ready to get baptized just because of the pressure from family and “knowing it was the right thing to do”.
As of today, none are baptized, the two oldest are working full time and attending college part time, one is living with their significant other and doesn’t attend, the other is still with us. The youngest (21 yrs) is going into their senior year in college.
To me, this is good and seems to be worth it, as I’m not sure I could’ve helped from outside the organization. I feel that by staying in, I was able to help soften the blow, be more of an advocate for them and divert the pressure put on them by family members.
At the same time, I know, and I’m reminded after reading the OP and some of the others’ posts that each day I stay in and allow them to stay in mentally, no matter how well my intentions are may not be viewed the same as I do and could possibly be resented by them.
Hi new boy.
I was 19 when my mother left the truth in spectacular fashion. I can't begin to tell you how betrayed and hurt it made me feel. Betrayal because my mother told me she had wanted to leave for yrs and yet still continued to push jw rules onto us right up until she left.
I felt she was a hypocrite. I was so turned off her that it still affects me to this day - and I am now 46. So anyone that says that the kids just need to get over it have no idea what they are talking about.
Why does it still hurt a bit?
We trust our parents and like to think they are putting their children's interests above their own. They know how hard life can be and therefore would want their kids to have a decent education instead of holding them back, just as an example.
Then there are all the things you would have loved to do when you were young but were always stopped from doing. There are so many jw kids with talents that went completely wasted, yet we just had to suck it up and find a way to kill off the burning desire to pursue activities we were drawn to and that we may have excelled in.
Your son may be feeling that if he had a chance to chase his dreams, life would be better for him. Of course, this is debatable, however, it's something that we'll never know.
As we get older we realise how important it is to start early when trying to accomplish anything and unfortunately, it's a chance most young jws don't get. We are then in the position of being years behind others before we start.
I hope this helps provide some insight.
After I left I realized I had to play the hand I was dealt. I did miss out on a lot growing up in the cult. But when I left, it was my decision, not one I could blame on anyone else. I didn’t wait for my parents to leave so I could follow them.(They never will leave.)
It was harder to assimilate into a “regular” life after having been raised as a witness. But many worldly people helped me along the way. I don’t blame my parents for joining the cult. The Witnesses caught them at a vulnerable point in their lives, and neither had their family’s support.
You can choose to dwell on the past and the negative impact or choose to say this will not define me.
Kids blame their parents. You don't have to have raised them in a cult for them to blame you for how their lives turned out. This is actually a stage of development that people go through. A lot of children (meaning offspring... not meaning young in chronological age) go through this stage in their early 20's. Some people don't go through this stage until they are older or also going through a mid-life crisis. Children in crisis often blame their parents.
You can empathize with your children. You can have regrets. But at a certain point in time you need to let them know that blaming you isn't healthy and they need to get on with their lives and more forward or they need professional help. They might need both.
You did the best that you could. You got out. That you didn't get out in time... well you can't change that. And who knows if that would even have been better for them? Playing the 'what-if' game is never a good idea.
The real danger is letting your kids think that it is okay to play into an idea that their lives would be drastically different if things had been different. Very little in life changes our course and destination. We have all these movies telling us that if we made just one single change in our past our lives would turn out drastically different but I don't believe that is true. The only changes that massively effect our lives are the pivotal choices. You already did that for them by deciding to leave. That was a pivotal choice. When that choice happened wouldn't have made as big an impact as the fact that you did leave.
Don't be too hard on yourself and don't let your children be too hard on you either... unless you did something really wrong to them. Waiting to make sure you are making the right choice isn't the wrong choice to make.
Maybe kids just need someone else to blame sometimes. We've heard the same message from (especially one of) our kids, despite the fact that they were all "OUT" (at least PIMO) even before we were. Even when we were very active, we had decided our kids would go to college and get a good education. The one that is the most complaining about being held back in life because we were JDubs has gotten his doctorate and is the most financially successful. Go figure!
I think sometimes people get stuck blaming others. Personally I would have been thrilled of my JW mom left when I was 21. She's still in so he should be grateful you at least got out at some point.
Also, you know, I was pretty much "out" as a teen although my family was fully in. I don't mean to be harsh...but there are lots of cases of JWs who left at an early age or at least doubted and started doing what they wanted while still living at home and having witness parents. I wonder if his anger isn't somewhat misdirected and he's really angry at himself for not seeing things clearer and being brave enough to leave (with or without his parents approval).
I find very passive people who are people pleasers love to blame others for not having "allowed" them to do things. In actuality they've chosen to put other people's approval and feelings above their own needs but it takes alot of maturity and growth to admit that. It's quite a valuable lesson once you learn it.
Your son certainly could have chosen to go against the grain and left the JWs all by himself. There are plenty who have.
Maybe it's a phase, but eventually blaming others for the way your life is now gets really old.
"We trust our parents and like to think they are putting their children's interests above their own. They know how hard life can be and therefore would want their kids to have a decent education instead of holding them back, just as an example."
Your right of course, except when the religion you happened to be raised in tell you to put their policies a head of their own family well being ....How many parents have even killed their own children by not giving them blood?
At some point in time the child needs to move on and find a way to deal with the circumstances they find themselves in.
However,our reality today is directly related to how we were raised by our parents. For better or worse we are a product of their beliefs, insecurities, strengths, weaknesses and examples.
Using education again as an example, if my parents encouraged me to pursue an interest I loved, gave me financial and moral support and helped guide me - if at that point I fail and blame them, then that's on me.
If my parents made it clear that they were unsupportive of any higher education, and actively discouraged me from pursuing it and I end up working in menial jobs my whole working career, then I am sorry, but that is on them for failing to do their job as a loving parent.
I understand that we can all make changes in our lives but we are severely disadvantaged the later in life this occurs.