Help, Advice Needed on Not Talking to Parents....

by kitties_and_horses_oh_my! 23 Replies latest jw friends

  • kitties_and_horses_oh_my!

    I feel like absolute s*(& after a long conversation with my sister this afternoon. She's in the org. and told me that if I won't have a relationship with my parents then she won't have one with me. My relationship with my parents is long and complicated. They were very emotionally abusive and still are very manipulative and controlling. I many times said as a JW that if it weren't for the scripture about honoring your parents, I'd never see either of them again. The problem is, I DO love them! I just get so hurt every time I'm around them. My mom glares at me with this vicious, hateful look and my dad tells me what I should be doing with my life that I'm not. When we left the org my dad called my husband some very nasty things (abusive control freak, liar, etc), showing that as an elder he's an extremely Christ-like person. My mom just says these things that rip my heart out. I've had a lot of problems with depression/suicide attempts/etc. over the past several years and I just don't feel like I can be around my parents right now because I feel so terrible when I'm around them. But I feel INCREDIBLY guilty for hurting them by not talking to them. I mean, what if my dad has a heart attack and dies thinking I don't love him? What if my mom never knows how much I want a relationship with her, I just can't handle her version of a relationship? I feel so terrible. After I talked to my sister I scrubbed the house playing the loudest, angriest music I could. But when the anger went away, there was just this huge load of guilt left to deal with. The worst part is that my 17 year old brother still lives at home and I just fear they'll poison his mind against me. I don't know what to do. Besides the issue of being emotionally devestated whenever I deal with them, how can I have a relationship with someone who treats my husband so terribly and still be loyal to my husband? He comes way before my parents. The other thing, too, is that my parents and sister make me doubt my husband, make me think he's got some alternative agenda or something. They talk about him like he's satan's spawn and I find myself not trusting his judgement as implicitly after I talk with them. He knows that, and it hurts him. But I think about who has been there for me through all the ups and the many, very severe downs of my emotional life and my husband is the one who has always been by my side. When I woke up in ICU the morning after I tried to kill myself and I called my dad, all he could do was yell at me about how my thinking was so screwed up because I was thinking that if God really loved me, he wouldn't let me be in so much pain. (Yeah, no f*#@, of course your thinking is screwed up if you try to commit suicide.) How disloyal to God I was being by trying to kill myself. I just feel so guity, so ripped apart by this whole thing. My husband says they're manipulating me emotionally and let me tell you, if they are, they're doing a hell of a job. Any advice, opinions, anyone who's been through something similar, please reply.

  • Elsewhere

    Emotional blackmail... that's a game I will not tolorate from anyone. Not even my own family.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee


    this line jumped out at me

    But I feel INCREDIBLY guilty for hurting them by not talking to them.

    so they emotionally manipulate, contol and abuse you and you feel guilty for not letting them do it some more. They get to hurt you and you wind up feeling guilty for trying to protect yourself. And they are angry that you won't let them abuse you. And they are trying to convince you that your supportive husband is the problem.

    when it comes down to it isn't that what is happening?

    Does that seem right to you? Is their behavior loving?

    They are making choices that will drive you away. - their choice not yours.

    Go to this article on my web page about emotional abuse and read it carefully.

    While you are reading it compare the behaviors with how your parents treat you.

    then go to a library or a book store and pick up Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward and read it carefully.

    As for your brother. I bet he isn't stupid and can see what goes on. He might not be able to do a lot while living with your parents. Let him know you love him and your door is always open. Let him come to you

    Take care of you. Abuse can make us want to die to end the pain. Freedom from abuse works best when we walk away and learn to live well

  • fairy

    Killing yourself? Thats when they can say to others "See, I told you"....Dont let them do that. Your life is your own, and love for parents is a strong thing, but if you want to talk to them, why not send a card or something......your life IS worth living.

  • Odrade


    So sorry hon, been there, done that, not doing it anymore. I have also had a very complicated relationship with my parents. They are master manipulators, and very controlling. PM me if you want to chat.


  • kitties_and_horses_oh_my!

    Hey everybody -

    Thanks so much for all your support. Sometimes things get so convolunded in your head, but when it's down in black & white it's clearer.

    so they emotionally manipulate, contol and abuse you and you feel guilty for not letting them do it some more. They get to hurt you and you wind up feeling guilty for trying to protect yourself. And they are angry that you won't let them abuse you. And they are trying to convince you that your supportive husband is the problem.

    Yeah, that's basically the story. I don't know how things get so complicated when the kernel of reality is small and simple and clear. You know, when I was talking with my sister today she was attacking me for leaving - basically saying the reason I felt bad was because I didn't have a relationship with Jehovah and that not having the paradise as a hope left me hopelesss. I told her that I didn't need some magical belief that "poof" everything will be perfect instantly, that I have hope in my own efforts, day after day, that I have the strength to become more and better. She got really sarcastic and said something to the effect of "so you're just so strong you can do it all yourself, you sure would never need anybody's help, forget it taking a village to raise a child, you're fine all on your own." Isn't that a bizarre response? I told her yes, I did have hope that I would become better with the very strong support network I have now that I am not a JW. As for the village raising the child, I think about that and I think how ridiculous that is. The whole time my parents used us as emotional whipping boys the "village" just watched and let it happen. When I came to meeting after my parents had a huge fight that ended up with the cops coming (lovely, theocractic picture: early Sunday morning, daughter all dressed for meeting while parents scream and fight upstairs. Four different neighbors call the cops. Daughter opens the door to the police wearing her meeting clothes and lets them in while enraged parents come downstairs to be told how to get along by rather irritated cops.) and the whole congregation had to know I was very upset as I didn't say a word and was on the verge of crying at any instant, but no, nobody dares to say "hey, this isn't right." Nobody ever stuck up for us. You know the one person who did? A man in Fred Meyer once, he came up and told my dad to stop yelling at me. My dad was so taken aback, so startled that somebody would call him on his behavior, that he shut up - at least until we reached the car.

    And you know, that is so exactly what's happening about them trying to convince me my husband is the problem. That's what they want to believe, god forbid their little girl should make up her own mind, or decide to leave of her own free will...I think they hate it that my husband doesn't let them pull crap on me. He calls them on it, helps me to see it when it's happening, when before I just rolled over and did anything I could to make them "happy" i.e. not screaming vile things at me. Today when I talked to my sister I started to mention something specific, how I remember my mom telling my dad she'd leave and sell her body on the street to get away from all of us. So she goes upstairs and angrily packs a bag to leave with. My dad talks her out of leaving (after the requisite screaming, throwing things, me having to go hug a mother who looks like she'd like to kill me) and I go upstairs and look through her bag, so relieved there's not a negligee in it so she wasn't really going to go be a prostitute to get away from us. I was what, seven or eight years old? I start telling this to my sister and she doesn't even let me finish. I'm sobbing and trying to get this out, trying to get her to see that a little child shouldn't have to worry that her mother is going to go have sex with strangers to get away from her, and my sister won't even listen, tells me to calm down. It makes me want to cry, just writing this. I love them, and I want a relationship with them someday, but not when I'm this vulnerable. I tried to tell them all that I needed time, and my sister just decided I've had enough time. But she doesn't see that it takes years to get yourself strong, to learn to trust yourself, not just a few months.

    I'm so grateful to all of you for your advice. The people on this forum, the people at the NW Apostafest, and the wonderful world of "worldly" people I've met since I've left, they all give me more hope for a way to survive and a future and a life that is worth living than all the pie in the sky the society offered ever did. It takes a village to raise a child she told me, what b.s., maybe it takes a village to let a child be abused and have nothing done about it.

    Thank you all for your love and support. It means more than I could ever put into words.

  • kitties_and_horses_oh_my!

    Lady Lee -

    I read the description of emotional abuse and it put into words everything I've always felt but couldn't say. The abusive expectations, emotional blackmail, constant criticism and constant chaos descriptions were my home so clearly. I don't know how my sister doesn't see it, it's like we grew up in two different families. She told me today that she "adores" my parents, while I remember clearly her yelling at my mom that my mom had tried to murder her by throwing a picture at her head. I'm going to get that book you recommended. It's good to know that you are all out there and care, that I'm not crazy for thinking something was wrong with the way I lived as a child. The part about the abused person being made to believe they can't succeed on their own...I feel that way all the time, that I will never be able to make a success of my life. That I will always be miserable, no matter how good my circumstances are. I have this life now that I am so proud of, I'm going to college to become a nurse and I'm working two part-time jobs to help fund my education - I'm finally doing something I am proud of, for the first time in my life. And yet I've been so afraid that I would get all the way through school and be a terrible nurse, get burned out in three weeks and quit, because I'm such a failure at everything I do in life. I didn't realize that programming was typical, that if they can make you believe you need them to survive then they have total control over you. I think it just rips them that I'm breaking free, leading a life that I love with the man that I love, that I don't need to put up with their s*(& and they can't force me to fall to pieces for them everytime they blink. That's why they hate my husband - because he sticks up for me and sees their crap as what it is. Thank you all for being so fabulously supportive and kind. Lots of love, kitties.

  • StinkyPantz


    You are tugging at my heart!! I have no real advice because my family situtuation was somewhat different. My father was emotionally abusive but he was never home, so it was no big deal. My mother on the other hand was a perfectionist but quite doting.

    We do have some similarities though, my husband isn't exactly my family's best friend. He is the athiest that stole their daughter away and then corrupted her. My parents have asked me over and over if he is the reason I won't come back and they always ask if everything is okay in this hopeful sort of way. Like they are hoping things won't work out and I'll leave him and go back to the org.

    I think that you should write them a letter explaining your feelings in detail and then take an extended vacation AWAY from them. You have too much stuff to deal with, like your sanity for one. Also, your husband needs you. You need to be away from then for your own sake. If they are a little hurt, well so be it. Be selfish for once in your life! ((M))

  • Scully

    ((((( kitties )))))

    I'm so sorry you're going through this. I'm glad you're going to read the book LadyLee recommended, it's a very helpful one, imo.

    Another one: Toxic People, by Lillian Glass, actually teaches you how to talk to the "toxic people" in your life and stop them in their tracks.

    Something else that perhaps you have not considered is that one or both of your parents could have severe personality disorders that are characterized by extremely manipulative behaviour, inappropriate displays of hostility and rage, etc. I'm thinking in terms of things like "borderline personality disorder" and "bipolar affective disorder", specifically. Do a little research and see if anything that you read reaches out and catches your attention.

    Your sister can do with her life as she pleases. You aren't "doing it alone" as she suggests. You have your husband. You have his family. You have friends and colleagues in nursing school. You have your brother - who does need you to be there for him if and when he wants to break out of the cycle of emotional blackmail and abuse that you described. You have all of us, too.

    You can also take advantage of whatever counselling opportunities are available to you to help you learn how to deal with the way your parents are. My local community college has courses on dealing with difficult people, maybe you have something similar in your area. What I am suggesting is that you find the tools you need to empower yourself, because the bad news is that your parents are NOT going to change (or at least stop what they are doing) until you stand up to their behaviour and refuse to take it anymore. So empower yourself. Learn how to stop them in their tracks and require them to treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve.

    If all else fails, you can DF them, so to speak. You know they'd treat you that way in a heartbeat, right? You know what the "fruitages of the spirit" are, and you know that they don't even try to apply them or cultivate them. So ask them sometime, how they expect to get through Armageddon when they fail miserably at all nine points of the fruitages of the spirit? How can they even dare to call themselves "Jehovah's Witnesses" when they do not exemplify the "love" that Jesus Christ said would be the defining feature of his true disciples? You can say that when they are ready to behave like Christians, you'll be happy to talk to them again.

    Oh and keep talking with us. We're here for you too, and we care about what's happening to you. Your hubby has me on his MSN (he is so helpful with this computer-stuff!!) - feel free to contact me too.

    Love, Scully

  • Silverleaf

    Dear kitties,

    I agree with StinkyPantz about writing your family a letter. Despite their treatment of you, you still love them and that says a lot about how strong you are. If you want them to know that, then tell them. Also tell them all the reasons you've told us about why you can't be around them. Write one to your sister also. If it were me I would make it very clear that the relationship you have or don't have with them is THEIR choice and it is based on THEIR actions, not yours. If they want to communicate with you they know where to find you and you will no longer tolerate abuse of yourself or your husband. I think I would also turn some guilt back on them and say if they care about you enough to want you to have a relationship with God, they are going to have to examine their lives and the way they have treated you. Tell them your relationship with God is more important and you can't explore that with the stress they're causing in your life.

    After that, I would suggest finding someone like a counselor or therapist to talk to. You will feel a lot better if you get all of this out to someone who can help you deal with it.

    Good luck and hang in there,


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