Biographical information
0-11: “WCG”
11-40: still recovering

I started bawling my eyes out as soon as I started writing this.

I’m 40 years old, on appearances well adjusted. Underneath I’m completely and utterly phucked up by ‘the Church’.

I was born into ‘the Church’. In fact my first memories are of a Church family friend looking after me during The Feast of Tabernacles. My next memory is of being belted by my Father after a ‘service’ for not being a good girl. I have very few other memories of my child hood. The ones that I do have are certainly not of the happy, fun, loving family I craved.

My parents were WCG parents. My parents forced me to be estranged from my three young sisters as soon as we could communicate. The only idea I can think of why… is my Church abiding parents wouldn’t want children who got along and communicated well, because we might question them… and/or gang up on them. Competitiveness between my siblings and I was encouraged from a young age and to date continues. I no longer participate in these patterns of behaviour and have been virtually estranged from my siblings forever.

I worry tonight as to how my experience as a child of ‘the Church’ impacts on my own parenting. What do I do? I know I show my kids this email. When they are old enough to sit down and listen to my explanation. My eldest son is 11 now and I cry for him. I cry for him being parented by a child who never felt love. Do you know that to this very day – that even though I see my parents every day… as they live just around the corner from me and help me out with my kids when I’m working… do you know what? I can’t ever remember my parents telling me they love me. EVER. Thankfully I’ve been able to tell my children this thousands of times.

I don’t care about God. The only thing I care about is love. I didn’t experience love for the first 11 years of my life. I learnt to give love to myself and my partners after I had kids. They kids opened up my maternal instincts and I started to feel better about the world as a result. I don’t know how I have attracted the most wonderful loving partner. This man who I will marry next year gives me respite from myself, my pain, my angst… every day. I love him so much. I feel loved back. My children see me loving him and being loved. I am so happy that I’ve recovered enough to experience this.

18 thoughts on “Angela”

  1. Hi Angela,
    I want to thank you for sharing your story because I can relate to you. I also grew up in the WCG since age 3 and now 44. It sounds like you are on a healing journey and I believe your kids are going to really appreciate the positive changes you have made. I have learned over the years in my own healing journey that shame and guilt, caused by the WCG, had contributed to my own self-destructive addictive behaviors. Today I openly discuss shame and guilt with my grandchildren so they can understand those feelings don’t have to be extreme and chronic. That there are healthy feelings of shame and guilt. Also, I learned that life is not the destination it is the journey. And during this life journey I am choosing to be happy and to find joy. This is a challenge but I really want to work on it.
    Thanks again for your honesty,
    Jackie Norman

  2. Hi Jackie

    This website and the others I’ve recently discovered on a new phase of investigating my past, has offered me a cathartic approach to ‘dealing’ with my past. I find it incredibly difficult to not live in the past. It’s a daily challenge to keep my mind looking forward to all the good things in my current life. But to move forward I know I have to confront the WCG demons, and thus open up the wounds on my soul before they will heal.

    I, like you Jackie am one of the most open and honest people I know. I’m ALWAYS emotionally honest with my children and loved ones. I think this may be a back lash against my own experiences with emotionally bereft parents. I know it was the fact that they my parents were brain washed that did so much damage to their ability to have any expression of joy, love, anger, sadness and a plethora of other normal emotional reactions. I still see many symptoms of my parent’s brain washed state – even though they extracted themselves from the WCG nearly 30 years ago.

    I know what was my ‘saving grace’ from the WCG and consequential disfunctional family situation…… my hobbies. I became obsessed with horses and painting. I’ve continued these interests throughout my life. Though I’ve been severely self destructive at various times in my past, I think it was my interests that pulled me through.

    I can’t tell you how grateful I am to the people who have been responsible for setting up these ‘support websites’. It has been a very confronting experience reading of other people’s WCG stories. But I feel like I’m in a safe place here where I can understand myself better through the sharing with people who have also been there.

    With appreciation

  3. why remove my comment also? Are you not preaching a message you want to get across? No freedom of speech????? Or just like making excuses that only satisfy you? Grow up!

  4. Marilyn and Fay,

    You both need to go back and read the front page of this blog. “Comments are moderated.” Then, take your snotty faces over to your dusty civics textbooks and read up on the First Amendment to the Constitution: “freedom of speech” is a concept that applies to the U.S. government to prevent it from restricting the speech of the governed. This is not a town square— it is a place specifically set up for people who have a beef with the WCG and religion to vent it and receive some support— not more of the tired old preaching people like you have been hurling their way since childhood. If people want that there’s lots of sites on the Internet where they can get it.

    You have been made a public example of what not to do here. Now get lost. Further comments from you will be summarily deleted.

  5. I appreciate the availability of this site. I listen to the pain, doubts, and hurt that continue to plague you, Angela, and feel sadness. Having been a WCG-then UCG minister’s wife who left all that behind much too late, but when I was able, I grieve that I was a part of the oppression, even if unwilling and unwitting. I now work to try to ease family hurts and pain, through my work as a social worker. I guess I am saying that all I can do is what you seem to be doing—living the antidote, the opposite of what we experienced. To dwell on the past may be destructive, but to ignore the abuses and ongoing resultant pain is also destructive. I think each of us finds our own way out.

    One thing that has struck me, working as a social worker, is how many others lived through alternate versions of the same painful childhoods–not at all related to WCG or UCG, but the same dynamics. There are many, many versions of the same stiltifying, judgmental, oppressive, closed cultures. They all nullify the human spirit. Now I am all about open communities that see themselves as part of the whole and no better/worse than the next guy. I love finding fellow open, loving, accepting, joyful companions to walk with. May you continue to seek and find the same. It took strength to get where you are—know that you are not alone.

  6. Wow…Angela, I started reading your post and had to ‘blink’ repeatedly–as you were/are me, minus the children and new husband–estranged from the birth family dysfunction, as you are. You can read my original post and follow-up under my name(melissa)…not shockingly, you are so similar, as I’m finding with alot of our kindred group here. I’m 40 too, and although, I’ve been on a journey of healing for many years…I think something happens at 40yrs– where whatever has not found closure in our lives WILL find closure…and coming to terms with the ‘realization’ that your birth family is/was not capable of loving is not an easy thing to ‘close’….So, I totally ‘feel’ you. Non-loving was/is definitely a good descriptive for the ‘church’ atmosphere which ultimately transferred over into the family. I’ve shed many tears of healing over the years and have also found many sources in helping me find all the love I need is within myself.

    Angela, you are not alone and are already 100 steps ahead of the ‘game’ by speaking out and finding sources to help you(they’re out there) your children are already benefiting from you being such a wonderful mother! I send you so much love, and know you are ALWAYS loved from those who connect to you– from within. Melissa :)

  7. Angela,
    Thank you for your post. I have found these all very interesting and comforting, while I believe in a Loving God more now than ever, I went through similar experiences with athieism as many of the old WCG people and am still trying to change all the “scripts” that were embedded in my mind and soul. But, thankfully we can take great strength from the fact that we are “out” and can see things clearly for the first time.

    We need to not forget all the people still trapped in the splinter groups. If there is any way we can reach them I beleive we need to.

    Much love to you all.

  8. I remember all of the above pain and then some. I am so grateful that after 48 years of enduring this alone I can read that others endured the same parental abuse, and the same pain. I was also abused by the leaders of the church, my mother was single and they convinced her that her beatings were not enough. They made her bring us to their homes and they abused us for her. My sisters have both passed now before they reached age 55, in the past two years I lost them both due to drugs and self medication to bury the pain mother caused and allowed. None of us ever felt loved or wanted by either her or the church. Me least of all. I was illegitimate and therefore a cursed child. She was told to never tell me who my biological father is so I do not know and I think I will never know. She believes God will punish her if she tells me. I do not prctivce a religion and I do not believe that there is a God. No being would allow such horror to be done to children in the name of goodness.

  9. Karen, Melissa, Susie and Gwen thanks for sharing your story. I’ve found it comforting to hear that others had exactly the same experience….and reacted the exact same way as me. Then in the next moment I cringe to hear that you had to suffer too :-(

  10. I am horrified to hear about what happend to my mum angela all those years ago, I now feel sooo lucky about my great life now.
    When i was in grade 1 (i think six years old) my parents split up and I was veary upset. After a while i grew into it and it became veary normal but this i think is nothing compared to what happend to my mum. No x-mas presents, birthday presents or even love from parents

    But all i know now is that my mum has a great life now, with 3 awsome kids, 6 cool pets, and a hardworking, loving new husband.

    (Love you mum)

  11. Hi, I don’t remember what I said but I’m sorry. I belonged to an independent shepherding church for 6 years and that was 25 years ago. The “don’t question authority was bought hook line and sinker. We women and girls had to wear doilies on our heads and the men had to keep the women under control. We were encouraged to tell on one another and money was the number one attraction for the speaker. I was offensive,I’m sorry but I will never leave the Lord.

  12. hugsandkisses (marylin),

    No one here is asking you to “leave the Lord.” But in your previous posts you were asking people to come to your God (and doing it in a rather preachy and condescending way), and that’s simply not what this place is for.

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