Am I selfish?
Tonight I had an argument with both my parents. My parents are aware of my feelings towards the organization, and it saddens them because I am their first born son. They had high expectations of me, my father dreamt of him and I serving together as elders. Right now they seem very hurt by my feelings towards the organization. They see it as something against God, which it isn't, and I've tried explaining that to them, by talking about the organization's history but they are convinced that this is the true organization. I look at childhood photos of my father embracing me and I can't help but get emotional and feel some form of guilt for "waking up". As hurt as they are, I myself am hurt by all of this. They accuse me of being selfish by stirring off into another path. They see it as them going towards the finish line and I'm going the opposite direction. I can't help but feel like there will be a strain in the relationship I have with my parents and it hurts me so much because like I every child, I sincerely love my parents, even if they say they'll forget about me if I don't make it to the new system. Is it strange to feel guilt? Should I not feel any type of guilt at all? Am I selfish?
I have gone through the same exact situation, I feel your pain. In my opinion, you are not selfish at all and should not feel guilt. They are acting this way because they truly feel that you are heading down the wrong path to destruction and love you, but understand they have been conditioned to believe these things. I understand the frustration of you seeing the truth about the Org and them not wanting to hear it. Stay strong.
Think it through. If they don't believe what you do, you will be willing to continue loving then and socializing with them. On the other hand, if you don't believe what they do, regardless of your reasoning why, you are likely to be verbally abused, looked down upon and shunned by them. So who is it that is being selfish?
Sharing the sentiments with everyone else. You're not being selfish at all. But I can relate with the feelings of guilt. That can take awhile to get over, but being free is worth it.
Selfish? what's wrong with that? It's your life and you may have only one shot at it. Your parents made their choices, now it's your turn. Your parents are unfair and manipulative.
It's not unusual to feel guilt in your situation, but it is misguided. Your parents are trying to hold you responsible for something you have no control over: your beliefs. No one can truly decide to believe anything (though they can decide to PRETEND to believe things they really don't) because beliefs are simply conclusions that our minds draw from the available evidence. You can no more choose to believe in the Watchtower BS (Belief System) than you could choose to believe that the Earth is flat, motionless and lies at the center of the cosmos. Once you understand something, you can't ever go back to not understanding it.
That said, your parents probably should feel guilty. While no one can control their beliefs, most people can control their behavior to some degree. If they are going to shun you simply because your mind isn't capable of ignoring the overwhelming evidence against the Watchtower BS, then this is a behavior they have definitely decided upon and they are totally free to change it despite the threat of emotional blackmail they are living under.
What's the most important responsibility of parents?
To raise healthy children who are capable of making their own decisions and living their own life.
And good parents realize that 'making their own decisions' means just that: their children will make decisions that are different from what the parents would have done themselves.
This should be something for parents to be proud of: their child can handle himself in life.
Parents who believe the only good decisions are the ones they would make, are narrow minded and/or arrogant.
Parents who don't allow their child to make their own decisions or try to manipulate the child to alter his decision are controlling.
How does this translate to JW?
First they spend years 'teaching their child to become 'spiritually strong', listen to his conscience, love and stand for truth and righteousness, and prepare him to make a decision with big consequences: commit to God and religion.
Then when the child actually uses all those tools, but in a way the parents don't like - choose to leave JW instead of joining, refuse to spread falsehood in fs, refuse to go to meetings where people are misled - the parents are shocked and try to force the child to back into their perception of the world.
It's the parents who are (likely unknowingly) selfish. The student has surpassed it's teachers.
"They had high expectations about me... "
Did your parents say they really love you? If they do, then they should be happy to let you decide what you want to do with your life. Obviously, they don't like the road you have picked.
Also obviously you have a good thinking mind and a good heart not wanting to be involved with a religion that intentionally covers up pedophiles and has flip flopping doctrines done intentionally to keep good, naive people, like your parents, too confused to do anything but repeat what is said at the Kingdom Hall. How much brain power does it take to regurgitate what the reader at the WT just read aloud... and now the dumbdowned people are supposed to raise their hand and say the exact same thing back to the WT conductor? How dumb is that?
So, are you selfish for making better choices than your parents did?
Your dear parents, week after week, month after year have been systematically brainwashed. JW..org tell them "Don't miss any meetings! Do everything like we tell you to!". JW..org knows they are brainwashing people. That is the only way they can keep the good people, obediently giving them money every month. Brainwashing. Smart people like you wake up and leave.
Hugs. I know this is worrisome to you. Do you have a nice (worldly) Aunt to talk to?
Guilt is the result of years of doctrinal conditioning and mind control. The feeling is common among people who break free from high control groups.
Many people experience the feelings of guilt even outside of a scenario like you are having with your family.
Part of the healing process is getting past these feelings of guilt. The way to do that is by focusing on rationalisation and logic, as well as realising that the feeling of guilt is a normal emotion to experience when you are exiting a religion like the JWs.
The intensity of what you are feeling right now is what keeps many people locked within the organisation.
The good news is it does get easier, as you learn to distinguish what emotions you should be feeling from the ones that have been imposed on you through indoctrination.
It is not selfish to take back your mind from these people, even if you experience the feeling that it is. Don't forget that they selfishly stole your mind in the first place with lies and deceit.
Guilt is a powerful motivator, and it's used by cults excessively to make you do what the cult wants you to do. It's important to do what YOU feel is right otherwise you'll feel the other emotions that the cult uses excessively... unworthy, anger, controlled.