THIS IS ALL COMPLETELY NORMAL???
Took me a while, in fact I was in Gr. 5 I believe before the school had a guest speaker come and talk to us kids about different kinds of abuses and harsh treatments. I knew my situation wasn't the terrible ones that other kids had to face, but I saw how close it got to that.
Even though I lived in a religiously divided home for most of my childhood, I still got punished the same way by both sides...the old Italian culture of beating the living daylights out of your children for nearly anything was just the way it was for me, other kids at the Italian congegation, and even the Italian kids at the RC school I went to ... we'd tell ourselves that the punishments made us stronger, and that the other kids were the ones who got shafted because they wouldn't be able to play after school, or watch TV for days etc. as their punishments.
When I was young, I truly believed in God. My mother discovered that this was a very powerful tool for her to use to get me to do things I didn't want to do. Many times, I heard the phrase, "Don't do it for me, do it for Jehovah". I didn't want to displease God, so I did things for Jehovah. The "fear of god" was put into me.
When I was beaten as a child, I began to wonder if this was normal. It didn't feel right.
I remember when I was 15 years old, I was supposed to go out in Service on one particular Saturday. I really didn't want to go. My mother came upstairs and ordered me to get dressed. She fed me that damn line, "Don't do it for me, do it for Jehovah." I knew the line was bullshit, and this particular morning, I didn't feel like doing it for Jehovah, so I stayed in bed. She comes back upstairs and says, "Let me put it this way, get up, or you're gonna get it!" Needless to say, I got up and got dressed for Service. I think that was the point where I discovered that this wasn't normal.
I clearly remember sitting in the Kingdom Hall, and remembering this "unruly" child. I watched as his dad carried him off to the bathroom. The kid was crying, "Daddy, don't spank me, please don't spank me!" Everyone in the Kingdom Hall was smiling or laughing. Was I the only one who didn't think it was funny? I've been in that kid's shoes before.
At some level it was quite early. I remember wishing I could call CPS and then feeling guilty that I thought those kind of thoughts. I was very stubborn (imagine that) and at some point it became a battle of wills between myself and my mom. She would start in wailing on me and I would stand there and stare her right in the eyes with my jaw set. I refused to cry and she refused to give up until I did. I made it worse on myself but she never broke my will like she did my brothers and sisters. I used to think to myself, this is what its like in the persecution. And that was in my own home!
Took me years of analysis to not hate my parents. I actually do forgive them, now, for many reasons.
Still, for a religion to advocate that type of upbringing is unspeakable.
When I was bringing up my son in eastern Washington we had one elder that was very anti-spanking. Many times he counseled from the stage about how wrong it was. The literature still talked about it, it was kind of weird to have someone advocating a different course.
I remember wishing I could call CPS and then feeling guilty that I thought those kind of thoughts.
I remember threatening my mother that I would tell the elders about her behavior. She told me, "Go ahead, I'll make it worth my while!" I had a lot of trouble dealing with the abuse in my later teen years. When I finally did approach an elder about it all, all he could tell me is how spiritual my mother was, and how she was a fine example in the congregation. I felt like I had absolutely nobody to turn to after that. It still didn't feel right, but all the blame was being put on me. I refused to believe that.
I was hit as a child as well. I can remember wearing a light color dress for my first talk. Thinking maybe I was around 7-8-9...I gave my talk and then later was sitting in the back of the hall and was yanked out by my dad in front of everyone. Maybe talking?? Giggling?? Anyway he spanked me out front and I wet my pants because I was so scared. So I had to come back into the hall after getting beat with a huge wet spot on my dress and wet socks sobbing.
Aint that a fond memory you would want your child to have?
Normal? For us raised as witnesses? We didn't know anything else.
As an adult, looking back, it is far from normal, and far from what should be expected of children.
I wasn't raised as a Witness, but became involved with them at the age of sixteen. I guess maybe because I wasn't raised in it, I wasn't aware how abnormal things were until I had my own children. I think what really made me stop and say "wait a minute" was when a district overseer' who we had over to the house for lunch during his visit, instructed me on the proper way to spank my children. Shortly after that, I started getting "counseled" by a paticular elder who insisted that I needed to discipline my children better.
The children, being of the ages of from eight down to newborn, were at that wiggly, noisy stage. I grew up in a non-JW household and the wiggly, noisy stage was just another stage of normal development, so I would just take my kids back to the B school when they were being noisy (I attended most meetings with just my five small children, so I had to take them all to the back with me if no one else volunteered to help).
This elder actually came up to me during the meeting and told me to take my child to the bathroom and spank him. Simply taking my children to the B school, where I could watch from the window, and where little Mr noisy could just be a kid, wasn't permitted.
After that, I became irregular at meetings for a very long time. And eventually, when my children started bringing up some of the stupid stuff they were going through, and I became aware of the Silent Lambs issue, I realized that the organisation valued the furtherance of its party line over the welfare of children, and I left.
And that elder? He was later disfellowshipped when it became public knowledge that he had been beating his wife.
I didn't know it wasn't normal until I got out..
You know, I never really thought of it as being abnormal until now. I've always thought the way I was raised (the police coming to our house, constant screaming/throwing things/etc.) was abnormal, but I never really connected that the other things that dubs do espouse are abnormal (forced attendance at mtgs, getting your mom's nails dug into your skin till you bleed cause you're fighting with your sister during a meeting, spankings preceeded by the reading of scriptures about how a spanking will not hurt a child, but may even save his life). You're right, it is really crazy.
I know I will never spank my own child.
I didn't know it was normal until I left too. I thought it was for my own good, and it would make me a better witness and that the kids that didn't get spanked would grow up spoiled and bad and destroyed at Armageddon. When I had my daughter at the age of 22, I still was in that mentality and did spank her not quite as extremely as my parents....now 14 years later, 2nd marriage new child....I've found many other ways that work even better, go figure!....There are some great parenting books on the market too...something we never thought to do as a witness, you know read material that contained the 'worldly way' of raising a child correctly.