A Question for Born-ins Who Had a Parent Leave the Cult Before They Did

by jp1692 25 Replies latest jw experiences

  • jp1692

    QUESTION: Have any of you that are now exJWs had a parent leave the religion before you, and you shunned them because of that?

    If so—and while you were still in the cult—what, if anything, could your parent have done to reach your heart and begin a reconciliation?

    I’m asking for myself. It’s been almost ten years since I left the religion and my two sons continue to shun me and rebuff all efforts I make to reconcile.

    In the last decade I’ve done everything I can think of to maintain a relationship with them, but all to no avail. I know that I can’t understand how my leaving feels from their perspective no matter how much it try.

    I am trying to understand how they feel and see if there is something I’m missing that could possibly make a difference.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  • joey jojo
    joey jojo

    Yes , I have had this experience.

    I didn't totally shun my Mother but I was so disappointed in her that still, after almost 30 yrs we are estranged.

    Not because she left the org but because she knew she was going to leave for many years beforehand and still insisted on being the typical JW parent. She was a trained professional before becoming a JW, yet she didnt allow higher education, any friends outside the org, no planning for a financial future, no sports, you get the idea. Yet she fell back on her profession for her entire life while I began life as a labourer and had menial jobs for many years after leaving school.

    Also, I felt a little shattered and betrayed to be honest. In my eyes she was a selfish, colossal hypocrite. There are other, more personal reasons too.

    After a few decades, I realised that you cannot control any other human being and someone that you really want answers from may not be willing or able to give them to you.

    I really wish you all the best.

  • Coded Logic
    Coded Logic

    My Mother left long before I did. Thinking back on it now, it was a bit of a role reversal and kinda makes me laugh. When I turned 18 she started listening to heavy metal, smoking pot, and had a boyfriend that she lived with.

    She never got DF'd but I always knew that if she was I would never shun her. I just could never do that. I was born into the religion and heavily indoctrinated. But I'm so happy that I had the presence of mind and the human decency to know the silent treatment is no way to treat those we love.

    If someone offered me a million dollars to never talk to my family again I would turn them down. If they offered me a medical treatment that would give me eternal youth but I could never see my family again - I would turn them down. And if they offered me a chance to live in a paradise but I had to forsake my family and watch them die in an apocalypse - I'd politely tell them to f*** off!

  • slimboyfat

    I’m sorry for your predicament jp1692. The only thing I can think might work at this point is to stop trying. If you are periodically contacting them, then each time you try to contact them they are confirming in their own mind their decision to shun you, and it gets lodged deeper and deeper. There is a sunk cost fallacy too, where each instance of shunning becomes more costly to overturn because of all the previous investment in shunning. So perhaps it would be good to remove the opportunities for them to actively shun you by stopping contact. It may just give them enough space to wonder, reconsider, and react differently sometime years down the line. (In order to make them wonder it would be important not to announce it either, saying “this is the last time I’m going to contact you, and I hope you stop and think about it”, but instead abruptly halt attempts to contact)

    I’m sorry there are no good solutions in this situation.

  • Still Totally ADD
    Still Totally ADD

    Jp I feel for you. Been there done that with our sons but our youngest did wakeup. I hope he chimes in on this post. I will tell you what he told us on why he left the borg. He said it was how the wt. was ramping up the fear and paranoia in their videos and talks. It help him to look further into what the org was all about. We had little to do with it except our steadfastness of not going back. It hurt him in shunning us. I wish there was a magic bullet in helping our kids to get out of the cult but I feel it's up to them to find the way. Maybe it will be something you told them years ago that will hit home with them to wakeup. Hopefully your wishes will come true. Take care. Still Totally ADD

  • Judgejudy

    My dad left. Not totally out but he faded. He let mom take us kids and would go to memorial and a few meetings but stopped going out in service and giving talks and doing anything but to hit a few meetings and take mom to the assemblies.

  • truth_b_known

    That's a rough situation jp1692. I was born in and did not leave until I was in my early thirties. I cannot recall a situation like yours. My father was disfellowshipped days after I graduated from high school. I was living at home the entire time he was disfellowshipped, so there was no shunning by my siblings and I.

    I think we are all well aware of how reason, logic, and facts are pointless tools when dealing with Jehovah's Witnesses. Belief if a powerful thing. Belief is an opinion held in spite of what the facts show.

    What I do know is that the following things are not found in the Bible -

    "Jehovah's Witnesses"

    "Governing Body"


    I also know the following is found in the Bible -

    Honor your father and your mother is the first commandment.

    Growing up there was a husband and wife who had a son my younger brother's age. I remember when I was in high school the wife and son left the husband in the middle of the night. They legally changed their names and switched congregations. I believe it was because of verbal and emotional abuse by the husband.

    The son grew up, graduated high school, became a pioneer and Ministerial Servant. Then his father, who moved out of state, came back to visit. The father wanted to visit with his son, but the son refused. The father approached the local elders. Those elders told the son, now and adult, if he didn't speak with his father he would be removed as a pioneer and Servant.

    So, if your father abused you, but is in good standing with the organization, you have to speak to him. If your father is disfellowshipped and you live outside the home you are not to speak with him. Such a loving arrangement.

  • exjwlemming

    As a parent myself, I subscribe to slimboyfat's view of the situation. I am being shunned by my kids who are in their early 20's now. It started about 4 years ago when I was Dfed in absentia. I figure that every time that I would reach out to them, they would have to actively make a decision to shun and ignore me. This would just reinforce their conscious decision to be loyal to the org. I was not even invited to the wedding reception for my oldest. Every Exjw clearly understands that this has nothing to do with god but the org's rules to keep a tight control on their cult. I'm hoping that just giving them their space that they will start to see the org for what it is. They are bright kids and hope that they wake up one day. The media reports, bad PR, and the batshit crazy assembly videos make spark some curiosity on the TTATT. I heard that my oldest was going to start to go to a foreign language congregation. Many have left the org after the constant indoctrination subsides while learning a foreign language. I hope this proves true.

  • Simon

    Yes, I've been a shunner and a shunnee (although I am not DF'd) so I know both sides of it.

    There's little you can do other than to try to keep contact so the person doing the shunning knows you didn't give up ... for when they realize their choice was wrong and based on misinformation.

    I think it's best to make clear that it's a choice they are making though - they do have a choice and they don't get to absolve themselves of all responsibility by claiming that they "have to".

  • nonjwspouse

    Maybe not any "thinking of you" cards or letters, but a simple card once a year or three, that says imprinted on the card " Have a nice day", or maybe better, just a blank card, then just sign the card "Love, your name". No information on yourself, no questions. Just a simple reminder that has your return address on the envelope, the smallest of gestures of reaching out with nothing expected in return. That kind of shows them you are open, but does not show them you are hurting, ( which they unfortunatly want so you will come back.)

    Disclaimer: Just an idea from a never has been, never will be JW.

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