Trouble explaining my life story to my boyfriend of almost 2 years

by findingmyway 20 Replies latest jw experiences

  • findingmyway

    Well, the time has come to explain my former JW life to my boyfriend of almost 2 years. He's getting a bit tired of being there for me during my meltdowns and not knowing or fully understanding why I am having a meltdown. I can no longer explain it as PMS...he knows me too well now. See I am df'd and he can't stand the fact that I am not close with my family because of their religious beliefs. He refuses to allow our relationship to go any further until I explain all this "religion stuff" to him. He wants to be there for me, but he doesn't want to take our relationship to the next level until he knows what he's getting into. It helps that I now know that, as much as I would love to be reunited with my family, I no longer want to be one a JW and I know that means that I will never be able to put my arms around my parents and siblings again.

    I know many of you are wondering why I have yet to explain all this to him. The problem is I don't want him hating my family (because I don't hate them), but I don't know how to explain all this to him without stirring emotions of disgust and hurt in him. Also, I have never been able to talk about all this to anyone. But the affect that my upbringing and has had on my childhood and my adult relationships is profound. I simply cannot open up to anyone because my experience has been that whenever I do, I am betrayed by the people who I thought were supposed to protect and nuture me...namely, my parents. They got me to open up and confess and then they turned me in to the elders on more than one occasion, which led to my being df'd in those instances. If you can't trust your parents and if they will turn their backs on you, then what makes anyone else any different.

    All he wants is complete openness and honesty, but I struggle with that. Any thoughts?

  • Happy Guy :)
    Happy Guy :)

    Perhaps you are not seeing the difference:

    If you can't trust your parents and if they will turn their backs on you, then what makes anyone else any different.

    Well anyone else who is a brainwashed member of a cult or anyone else who is not?

    All he wants is complete openness and honesty, but I struggle with that. Any thoughts?

    If all he wants is complete openess and honesty you should be happy. The JWs expect that and also obedience, blind faith and complete submission.

    On the subject of not disclosing to him for 2 years maybe you ought to consider doing it in a setting which includes a licensed relationship counselor.

    On the issue of his emotional reaction, he does not only have 2 courses of action i.e. anger at your family versus agreement with your family. He has another alternative and that is sympathy for your family that they are so brainwashed they just don't understand the meaning of family. In order for him to find that alternative he will need an understanding of the dynamics at play. Perhaps you could educate him through books on cults or even have him talk to people here at JWD.

    Good luck.

  • Mum

    Hi, findingmyway. Welcome to the discussion.

    It is very difficult to have a relationship when you do not have a support system. I saw a psychologist (whose name is, unfortunately, lost to me) on the Phil Donahue program who talked about this issue. It seems that women without a support system lose through jobs and relationships at a pace that would send others to a mental institution. I can relate because I did not have a supportive family. This lack of understanding and caring on their part was one of the things that drove me to the illusionary "love" that the JW's offered. How ironic!

    My daughter was brought up as a JW and has had panic attacks that she attributes to the experience. Her husband is a very nice guy, but he has difficulty understanding what her problem is. He has stood by her, though, and she has me as well to offer support and understanding.

    Are you in therapy or counseling of any kind? You would benefit by it. It would be great if you could find a support group of ex-members of cults as well. Randy Watters' site ( has some good links to Steven Hassan's site. In case you are not aware of it. Mr. (Dr.?) Hassan is a psychologist who specializes in mind control / cult issues.

    It would be good for you to connect with others in any positive way. If you have a hobby or interest, it would be good to join a club where others have that same hobby or interest, such as arts and crafts (pottery, quilting, sewing, etc. come to mind) or a book club. Look around your area for such groups. Finding a common interest with others and doing what you enjoy helps.

    Feel free to e-mail me at [email protected].

  • findingmyway

    It's all so scary because all I have ever had was my family and my so-called JW friends. I don't know why I equate opening up to him to letting go of my family. There are not guarantees with him and then what am I left with.

  • Check_Your_Premises

    He has a right to be cautious.

    You may be an ex-jw as you sit today. If/when you have children you will feel all of your implanted phobias bubbling to the surface in context of the new sacred addition to your life, your children. Then he could be a future once-a-week newbie who gets on here with, "My wife just rejoined the jw, what the f***?"

    Have you dealt with your phobias?

    How to explain it to him? Hmmm. Tell you what. Have him get on this board and explain the situation from his point of view. He will get all the explanation he needs from the fine folks here.

    You won't have to lift a finger!

  • findingmyway

    I guess that's why he's so concerned about the amount of influence that my family has over me...he doesn't know that I have made a conscious decision to never go back. He will also probably want me to make an announcement of some kind (which I suppose I may have to do) to my family that this isn't what I want and I don't want them filling my son's (I have an 8 year old) head with their doctrines.

    That does make sense.

  • findingmyway

    I'm thinking I just need to sit him down, shut him up, swallow a glass of wine and start from the top. So much to tell, but I guess I'll leave out the gory details (you know, JDC meetings, etc.).

  • findingmyway


    I think this board may be a bit much for him.

  • jgnat

    Don't leave out the gory details! He has to understand why you flip out. I think the hardest thing for the uninitiated to understand is the powerful grip the JW thinking has on it's followers. When he asks, "Why didn't they just leave?" tell him the control the organization is powerful and hard for outsiders to understand. Encourage him to read up on it. He might enjoy reading Steve Hassan's book on overcoming cult mind control.

    I wouldn't be in a big hurry to make any grand declaration to your family. You know the huge impact that will have on future relations. He doesn't "get it" yet.

    By the way, I think you have a "winner" with him. He's stuck by you for two years, even though you have closed of some major areas of your heart. I think he is a safe person.

    As others have said, you may need another safe person, like a therapist to unload. I hear the best way to overcome a scary thing is to take baby steps. For instance, someone with a fear of heights might go up two steps on a stairwell one day, three the next. Share in degrees. Once it is all out, I guarantee you will experience such freedom, you will wonder why you kept it inside all these years...

  • Country Girl
    Country Girl

    It would help if he read the following web sites:

    and tis web site.

    He will most likely NEVER understand the truth unless he was raised in it, but he can at least get a feeel for it at those web sites and at this web site. Don't feel embarassed or ashamed, we all fell for it.


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