how does everyone else cope with being shunned by family?

by nb-dfed 36 Replies latest jw experiences

  • nb-dfed

    I am a newbie to the site. I was born an raised a jw. Shortly after marriage, my husband and I decided we no longer wanted to be part of the organization. We pulled away and kept to ourselves, without trying to mislead anyone or be bad influences. The elders eventually tracked us down and told us we would be disfellowshipped if we didn't meet with them. I chose to meet with them simply so that I would not be disfellowshipped and still allowed to talk to my family. I was disfellowshipped by a judicial commitee. They made the decision in less then five minutes. That was nearly two years ago. I have found happiness and peace with myself, my spirituality and god. The thing I still have trouble with is that I cannot share the simple joys of life with my brother, sister and parents. They weren't there when I bought my first new car and my first house. They won't be there when their grandchildren are born. I know they still cling to the hope that one day I will come to my senses and return to the organization. I just want to know how some of you out there cope with this sadness. Thanks!

  • XQsThaiPoes

    they cant DF you for being inactive. Also you should never meet with them for that implies guilt accoring to the PA book. Also They can only DA you at most. DAing implies no wrong doing. THe shunning is vague and unoffical so technically you could get around it if you family and friends really loved you. ALso every year they have to contact you and ask do you want to be reinstated. so the quickest way around it since it has been 2 years is become reinstated. And never meet with them afterward.

  • nb-dfed

    Well, they were going to df us because they had two witnesses against us. They don't need any reason if two people have made statements against you. I just went in to try and prevent it, but it didn't work. I stormed out though after they made their decision, so that doesn't bode well. I've thought about going back just to be reinstated and then stop going, but my family would be on my case. "Why aren't you at meetings?" or "Why don't you go out in service, you used to be a pioneer?" I would never get any peace. I just don't understand how one can believe that a loving god would want you to have nothing to do with your own family! Enough ranting on my part. Thanks for listening.

  • DannyBear

    You just summed up why most of us come here nb.

    The miserable, sick, religion just won't go away will it? Like a persistant nasty barking dog, once the wtbs gets in your just can't shake the bastards.

    The few of us here, going through exactly your pain, represent just a small percentage of those whose lives have forever been altered by this evil religion. Evil is the correct word. No other word can fit an organization that seems to relish it's role as a family destroyer. They will cry foul to this statement, but the reality is its a fact.

    Instead of offering reconciliation and forgivness, it promulgates hate and derision. Daily offering up young and old to lives of desperation and loneliness. Predicated on some misguided sense of 'keeping themselves clean'......while at the very same moment adding bloodguilt and shame on themselves, for violating natures own laws, let alone the god they claim to worship. Many unable to take the rejection, ending thier lives. Turning to drugs, alcohol, sex, and other forms of excess to relieve the pain.

    They just have it so wrong.

    Meanwhile back on the farm, we just have to chose the right word.

    Reading other's views and how they deal with the pain, can offer alot of support and help you do just that. Cope.

    Best to you and journey.


  • kls

    Welcome to the forum, i cannot answer your question, i have only my husband in. I guess going back to live a lie and keep family is one way or to live free with no family. It is your choice as what makes you happy.

  • XQsThaiPoes

    DB is correct the system is to bring you back or push you to sin. But they DFing system is broken and I am trying to work on a logical anti shunning packet that has zero to do with xtain love or what ever. More of a logical rebutal. Becaue the syste has several plot holes that the wts has not adresses and they even break their own rules. About how to treat dfed people. It is really fear and peer pressure.

  • Elsewhere

    I was a 3rd generation JW. Basically my entire family and all of my friends were JWs. I DAed myself because I just didn't believe it. I could no longer fake my faith? I could not live a lie.

    Result: My entire family and everyone I grew up knowing shunned me.

    I wasted about four years of my life trying to be nice and win them over so they would not shun me... it was a waste of time and heart ache. I eventually became resolved to the fact they will never be a part of my life again and wrote them off as lost to a cult.

    Over the years I have built a new "family" and new friendships.

    When I was a kid and my grandfather died they had to divide up the estate. In the process it came to my attention that my grandfather had another son by a previous marriage before he was a JW. All my life I had an uncle that I was never told about, a whole other branch of my family that was ignored and hidden from everyone. I was shocked and horrified that a family could do such a thing.

    I am now destined to be that hidden family member, hidden from view, treated as though I don't even exist. This is what I have had to come to terms with.

  • DannyBear

    ***I am now destined to be that hidden family member, hidden from view, treated as though I don't even exist. This is what I have had to come to terms with.***

    It took me about the same amount of time to resolve.

    Jw's are so blind. They see themselves as more upright, more righteous, for dealing so harshly with the so called non-repentant sinners. Yet they will with open arms accept in 'good standing' almost anyone that has the properly endowed tear ducts, sufficiently drooping chin, that 'listens' intently to admonition from the 'spirit directed' elders and fds.

    Child abuse, murder, larceny, wife beating, all easily excused by simply being submissive to Watchtower will.

    They can't get it, they just don't want to see the evilness, they get side tracked by all the words. Clean, upright, godly devotion, pure, the words rushing into the brain......allowing them to tear and rend families apart, without the slightest twinge of consience.


  • jst2laws

    Welcome to our board, Nb

    I've thought about going back just to be reinstated and then stop going, but my family would be on my case. "Why aren't you at meetings?" or "Why don't you go out in service, you used to be a pioneer?" I would never get any peace. I just don't understand how one can believe that a loving god would want you to have nothing to do with your own family! Enough ranting on my part. Thanks for listening.

    You care about your family and you are willing to do anything to salvage your relationship with them. This makes you a GREAT PERSON. But your family is trapped in a cult. It may be a long time before your family appreciates what a good person you are.

    It does not matter why you were DF'd are how you tried to avoid it. You are a good person who needed to escape the Fundamentalist Watchtower Society. If you go back to win the love of your duped relatives it will only last as long as you can hide your true self.

    I suspect you will get some good advise on how to go on from here. I will watch this thread as you will too.


  • Big Tex
    Big Tex

    Howdy nb-dfed.

    First, I'm very sorry that your family will not talk to you. Realize that is about them, and not you. What do you do? Live your life.

    I have not spoken with my father or my sisters in 12 years. I was not "allowed" to attend my mother's funeral (even though I've never been disfellowshipped or disassociated). In all honesty, I do not miss them and currently I do not know where they are.

    Having said that, it hurt (a lot) in the beginning. I'm not ashamed to say I cried, bitterly and hard, and I did miss them at first. But gradually I realized that they did not care about me, the inner person, who I really am. Their "love" was conditional, and dependent only on how many hours of service, how many meetings I attended and how many comments I made.

    At the end of the day, you just reach a point where you say, "Screw it". This is who I am and from this point forward I only want people in my life who like and care for me. Not what they want me to be, but who I really am. I can control that. I cannot control my family.

    It does hurt. I don't want to dimish that in any way, and yet you are on your own path now and if your family cannot accept you as you really are, then you must ask yourself how much it costs you to be in a relationship where you are required to only give and never receive. And then you must ask yourself whether such a relationship is loving.

    Good luck.

  • Dan-O
    how does everyone else cope with being shunned by family?

    Well, I got used to not seeing some members of my family. It's kinda sad in some respects, but it's their choice. And maybe I don't have it too bad, because it's mainly my sister & one uncle that are still j-w's. Pretty much everyone else has either been disfellowshiped or has just walked away.

    And of those two, the one the really gets under my skin is my uncle, who lives about 60 miles away. I occasionally go to that town because he & one of my cousins (now a born-again type) live there, just a few blocks away from each other. And my uncle always gives me an earfull about how I should return to the KH. I listen politely & talk with him, because I know that he really believes in this stuff as 'the truth'. He's doing what he believes in his heart to be the right thing to do.

    But when I get ready to come home, he always says "Don't be a stranger. Come see us again soon." And THAT'S the part that irks me. It's not like the highway has only an eastbound lane. (Otherwise, how would I get back home, right?) For the life of me, I can't figure out why he never finds the way west to my town, and never picks up the phone to call. Is it my deodorant or something?

  • jst2laws


    It does hurt.

    Feeling Blue

    You are so in tune with people. I hope you never loose this.


  • XQsThaiPoes

    BT you are a perfect example of the broken system. They actually are going against the watchtower's council.


    km 11/87 p. 2 Helping Inactive Ones *** 6 Although certain publishers will be asked to assist inactive ones, this does not mean that others cannot help also. All can take the initiative to greet these persons when they come to the Kingdom Hall and engage in upbuilding conversation with them. Show that we are happy to have them with us and that we hope they will continue progressing. This loving interest should continue to be shown as they make spiritual progress. Positive results have been obtained by such united efforts.?Eph. 4:16.

    *** km 8/02 pp. 3-4 Display Christian Loyalty When a Relative Is Disfellowshipped ***

    Display Christian Loyalty When a Relative Is Disfellowshipped

    1 The bond between family members can be very strong. This brings a test upon a Christian when a marriage mate, a child, a parent, or another close relative is disfellowshipped or has disassociated himself from the congregation. (Matt. 10:37) How should loyal Christians treat such a relative? Does it make a difference if the person lives in your household? First, let us review what the Bible says on this subject, the principles of which apply equally to those who are disfellowshipped and to those who disassociate themselves.

    2 How to Treat Expelled Ones: God?s Word commands Christians not to keep company or fellowship with a person who has been expelled from the congregation: ?Quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man. . . . Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.? (1 Cor. 5:11, 13) Jesus? words recorded at Matthew 18:17 also bear on the matter: ?Let [the expelled one] be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector.? Jesus? hearers well knew that the Jews of that day had no fraternization with Gentiles and that they shunned tax collectors as outcasts. Jesus was thus instructing his followers not to associate with expelled ones.?See The Watchtower of September 15, 1981, pages 18-20.

    3 This means that loyal Christians do not have spiritual fellowship with anyone who has been expelled from the congregation. But more is involved. God?s Word states that we should ?not even eat with such a man.? (1 Cor. 5:11) Hence, we also avoid social fellowship with an expelled person. This would rule out joining him in a picnic, party, ball game, or trip to the mall or theater or sitting down to a meal with him either in the home or at a restaurant.

    4 What about speaking with a disfellowshipped person? While the Bible does not cover every possible situation, 2 John 10 helps us to get Jehovah?s view of matters: ?If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him.? Commenting on this, The Watchtower of September 15, 1981, page 25, says: ?A simple ?Hello? to someone can be the first step that develops into a conversation and maybe even a friendship. Would we want to take that first step with a disfellowshiped person??

    5 Indeed, it is just as page 31 of the same issue of The Watchtower states: ?The fact is that when a Christian gives himself over to sin and has to be disfellowshiped, he forfeits much: his approved standing with God; . . . sweet fellowship with the brothers, including much of the association he had with Christian relatives.?

    6 In the Immediate Household: Does this mean that Christians living in the same household with a disfellowshipped family member are to avoid talking to, eating with, and associating with that one as they go about their daily activities? The Watchtower of April 15, 1991, in the footnote on page 22, states: ?If in a Christian?s household there is a disfellowshipped relative, that one would still be part of the normal, day-to-day household dealings and activities.? Thus, it would be left up to members of the family to decide on the extent to which the disfellowshipped family member would be included when eating or engaging in other household activities. And yet, they would not want to give brothers with whom they associate the impression that everything is the same as it was before the disfellowshipping occurred.

    7 However, The Watchtower of September 15, 1981, page 28, points out regarding the disfellowshipped or disassociated person: ?Former spiritual ties have been completely severed. This is true even with respect to his relatives, including those within his immediate family circle. . . . That will mean changes in the spiritual fellowship that may have existed in the home. For example, if the husband is disfellowshiped, his wife and children will not be comfortable with him conducting a family Bible study or leading in Bible reading and prayer. If he wants to say a prayer, such as at mealtime, he has a right to do so in his own home. But they can silently offer their own prayers to God. (Prov. 28:9; Ps. 119:145, 146) What if a disfellowshiped person in the home wants to be present when the family reads the Bible together or has a Bible study? The others might let him be present to listen if he will not try to teach them or share his religious ideas.?

    8 If a minor child living in the home is disfellowshipped, Christian parents are still responsible for his upbringing. The Watchtower of November 15, 1988, page 20, states: ?Just as they will continue to provide him with food, clothing, and shelter, they need to instruct and discipline him in line with God?s Word. (Proverbs 6:20-22; 29:17) Loving parents may thus arrange to have a home Bible study with him, even if he is disfellowshipped. Maybe he will derive the most corrective benefit from their studying with him alone. Or they may decide that he can continue to share in the family study arrangement.??See also The Watchtower of October 1, 2001, pages 16-17.

    9 Relatives Not in the Household: ?The situation is different if the disfellowshipped or disassociated one is a relative living outside the immediate family circle and home,? states The Watchtower of April 15, 1988, page 28. ?It might be possible to have almost no contact at all with the relative. Even if there were some family matters requiring contact, this certainly would be kept to a minimum,? in harmony with the divine injunction to ?quit mixing in company with anyone? who is guilty of sinning unrepentantly. (1 Cor. 5:11) Loyal Christians should strive to avoid needless association with such a relative, even keeping business dealings to an absolute minimum.?See also The Watchtower of September 15, 1981, pages 29-30.

    10 The Watchtower addresses another situation that can arise: ?What if a close relative, such as a son or a parent who does not live in the home, is disfellowshiped and subsequently wants to move back there? The family could decide what to do depending on the situation. For example, a disfellowshiped parent may be sick or no longer able to care for himself financially or physically. The Christian children have a Scriptural and moral obligation to assist. (1 Tim. 5:8) . . . What is done may depend on factors such as the parent?s true needs, his attitude and the regard the head of the household has for the spiritual welfare of the household.??The Watchtower of September 15, 1981, pages 28-9.

    11 As for a child, the same article continues: ?Sometimes Christian parents have accepted back into the home for a time a disfellowshiped child who has become physically or emotionally ill. But in each case the parents can weigh the individual circumstances. Has a disfellowshiped son lived on his own, and is he now unable to do so? Or does he want to move back primarily because it would be an easier life? What about his morals and attitude? Will he bring ?leaven? into the home??Gal. 5:9.?

    12 Benefits of Being Loyal to Jehovah: Cooperating with the Scriptural arrangement to disfellowship and shun unrepentant wrongdoers is beneficial. It preserves the cleanness of the congregation and distinguishes us as upholders of the Bible?s high moral standards. (1 Pet. 1:14-16) It protects us from corrupting influences. (Gal. 5:7-9) It also affords the wrongdoer an opportunity to benefit fully from the discipline received, which can help him to produce ?peaceable fruit, namely, righteousness.??Heb. 12:11.

    13 After hearing a talk at a circuit assembly, a brother and his fleshly sister realized that they needed to make adjustments in the way they treated their mother, who lived elsewhere and who had been disfellowshipped for six years. Immediately after the assembly, the man called his mother, and after assuring her of their love, he explained that they could no longer talk to her unless there were important family matters requiring contact. Shortly thereafter, his mother began attending meetings and was eventually reinstated. Also, her unbelieving husband began studying and in time was baptized.

    14 Loyally upholding the disfellowshipping arrangement outlined in the Scriptures demonstrates our love for Jehovah and provides an answer to the one that is taunting Him. (Prov. 27:11) In turn, we can be assured of Jehovah?s blessing. King David wrote regarding Jehovah: ?As for his statutes, I shall not turn aside from them. With someone loyal you will act in loyalty.??2 Sam. 22:23, 26.

    (1 Corinthians 5:6-13) 6

    YOUR [cause for] boasting is not fine. Do YOU not know that a little leaven ferments the whole lump? 7 Clear away the old leaven, that YOU may be a new lump, according as YOU are free from ferment. For, indeed, Christ our passover has been sacrificed. 8 Consequently let us keep the festival, not with old leaven, neither with leaven of badness and wickedness, but with unfermented cakes of sincerity and truth. 9 In my letter I wrote YOU to quit mixing in company with fornicators, 10 not [meaning] entirely with the fornicators of this world or the greedy persons and extortioners or idolaters. Otherwise, YOU would actually have to get out of the world. 11 But now I am writing YOU to quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man. 12 For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Do YOU not judge those inside, 13 while God judges those outside? "Remove the wicked [man] from among yourselves."

    "This would rule out joining him in a picnic, party, ball game,[memorial], or trip to the mall or theater or sitting down to a meal with him either in the home or at a restaurant."

    Okay this means not having the passover with them but JWs violate this at the memorial by allowing Dfed people come. ALso since only the anointed "eat" this means that this does not effect the GC.

    (Matthew 18:15-17) 15 "Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, in order that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. 17 If he does not listen to them, speak to the congregation. If he does not listen even to the congregation, let him be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector.

    This is great cuz this means you don't have to shun a person until the he speaks to the congregation. Also Jews and Jesus associated with men of the nations and tax collectors.

    (2 John 7-10) 7 For many deceivers have gone forth into the world, persons not confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Look out for yourselves, that YOU do not lose the things we have worked to produce, but that YOU may obtain a full reward. 9 Everyone that pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. He that does remain in this teaching is the one that has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to YOU and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into YOUR homes or say a greeting to him.

    I guess this means if the person is not the anti-christ then you can talk to them.Also this puts the JW faith on shaky ground considering they are a tad gnostic.

    (1 Timothy 5:8) 8 Certainly if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith.

    Considering providing for your own can go beyond monetary compensation then I assume this must mean help them cope while you shun them?


    w02 10/15 p. 27 Questions From Readers ***

    The fellowship that Paul mentions clearly involves worship and spiritual dealings with idolaters and unbelievers.

    Also the watchtower defended its self in converting churches to kingdomhalls in this QFR. So in short the DFing "rule" is so full of holes it is not upholdable. Also becaue they bible comments on DFing offenses that JWs do not even deal with on a regular basis such as fighting the anti-christ it just does not apply. ALso DFing for "sin" does not make the person less of a xtain. This is another you "should" rule that thinking JWs should analized to see if it is just. Because none of the proof texts are supporting DFing for the Great Crowd also it gives the congregation the final say and not the elders. BTW If you are DAed you technically have revoked you baptism but should not be shunned. The WTS never tells you how you must treat DAed people they just hide it and imply strongly.

    Any comments from dfed or daed people. I would like to ask have you actually read the dfing acticles and asked why in heck do they "shun" people dfed or not for little reason? That is unless you are the anti-christ then you are rightfully screwed. I think DFing is like my Bday stance it is not becasue i think God cares it is beacue I am cheap and it is a great non offensive excuse to not buy people i normally wound not buy anything for a gift.

  • codeblue


    I am not df'd (fading) but recently encounterd an experience with a JW family member...she was so hurtful to me....

    Big Tex wrote some really good info...that I plan in re-reading every day for a while.

    Even as an active JW I loved my family...JW or not....maybe I am the exception because love should be love no matter what...

    I hope you will get the strenghth you need to carry on in life and thanks for sharing your experience!


  • nb-dfed

    I really appreciate everyone's posts. It's just comforting to know that there are others out there who understand what I am going through. Co-workers and friends look at me like I'm crazy when I explain that my family will not talk to me b/c I am no longer a member of their religion. It hurts less and less as time goes on, and I know I will be okay. One good thing to come out of all this is that my 16 year old sister (who still lives at home) has contacted me and we are rebuilding our relationship. It's hard to have to have a secret relationship with my own sister, but at least she knows I'm here to help her should she ever make the decision to leave. Thanks again for all you kind words and thoughts!!

  • Doubtfully Yours
    Doubtfully Yours

    Many years ago, when I was disfellowshipped, my family treated me as if I were dead.

    It hurt so much that it made me come back.

    That was one of my biggest mistakes in life. By now I would've been over it, or they would've weakened and dealt with me if only in a superficial way.


  • Corvin

    In the case of being df'd, it really is very much like losing someone in death.

    You have grieve it to a completion, tho some of the sadness remains, and you move on.

    I have learned that there is only a ressurection for those in the organization when they wake up and leave the organization . . . then they are free to come back to you. If they remain in the organization, there is no ressurection hope, no chance to be reunited. Strange and a bit ironic, really. They see you as dead (spiritually) and await your return. (don't hold your breath Aunt Esther). I became empowered when I realized it was me that had to accept them as being dead.


  • pratt1

    Welcome to the board.

    Keep your head high and chin up. In time the absence of your family will hurt less and less. Remember they are victims too, of an over zealous cult. one day they may wake up as well and realize how they have missed so much of your life.

  • xjw_b12

    ((((( nb-dfed ))))) and welcome to JWD. Sorry to hear you have to expereince that from family. Shunning is probably one of the most posted topics here.

    However don't give up hope, and don't lose your resolve. My wife was able to have a brief reunitement with her parents 2 weekends ago after years of no contact. It was quite unexpected, but very much appreciated. They even shared a drink, and took some of CJ's home cooked perogies home with them. So there is hope. And sometimes it comes out of the blue.

    Take Care


  • Gopher

    Welcome to the board, nb-dfed.

    I too am shunned by family over an unjust disfellowshipping. Over time I have come to see that the elders actually did me a favor by cutting me loose from such an unloving and hypocritical organization -- not saying that everyone inside is bad, I'm talking about the leadership and many of the elders.

    My parents and grandmother and friends who shun me have been duped into believing that by their course of action, they'll win me back. Fat chance, though -- they're just pushing me farther away. They have allowed the organization to remove their heart and insert a solid rock. They have become totally desensitized. My parents just came to visit Minnesota from 1,500 miles away and didn't even bother to contact me or my DA'd sister. I hope they're happy, but you cannot force unloving people to start becoming loving.

    So I've coped by turning to my sister, friends and other family (including a great ex-JW wife) who have helped insert normalcy and sanity into my life.

    Best wishes for you and your husband.

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