Transcript of OnionUnlimited podcast episode 053
HELLO AND WELCOME TO ONIONUNLIMITED THE PODCAST—I’m your host, Daniel Torridon. Well, what a strange week it’s been. I still can’t believe what I’m about to tell you is true, but here we go.
Now, if you’ve been following my podcast you will know my two youngest children are no longer living with my ex-wife. Instead, they are now living with her parents who are Jehovah’s Witnesses and, as I explained previously, I’ve had absolutely no say in the matter at all, but here’s the thing—I was led to believe that my ex-wife kicked my daughters out of their home in order to go live a carefree life on her terms. Now when I heard that I thought how selfish she was, but it seems that’s not what has happened and I owe my ex-wife an apology.
So, this week my wife contacted me to let me know that she had disassociated and that the children were living with their grandparents. This much I already knew, but I thought I would check whether what I’d been told by my daughter was true—namely that she’d told our daughters that she doesn’t want anything to do with them and to get out of the house. Now, I don’t know if anything like that was said in the heat of the moment—maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t—but after checking with my ex-wife it seems the situation is not quite as I was told.
Apparently, she had no intention of severing her relationship with our daughters, but she did disassociate herself and for good reason. I honestly never thought this would happen but she woke up to the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses is a cult! And when she disassociated she began to experience everything that I experienced when I was disfellowshipped two and a half years ago—namely parental alienation and shunning—but this time it was at the hands of her own Witness parents.
Now I can’t stand her parents, her father especially. He is, quite frankly, abusive in my opinion. He shouts and throws his temper around and I’m not at all happy that my daughters are now living with him and his wife. However, this development has provided an opportunity for my ex-wife and me to talk, finally, and it would appear that we are on the same page.
Now, if you’ve listened to my previous podcasts you’ll know I felt quite bad about not loving my wife during our 25-year marriage. I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t love her. What made it worse was she always told me that she loved me which I found quite hard to believe. She was a shouter just like her dad and I just didn’t feel loved. But now she’s realised, finally, that she never loved me and as crazy as it seems I’m actually really happy about this. This week she confessed to me that she only married me in order to get out from under her abusive father’s control, and you know what? I, I get that totally. He was, and is, a horrible man in my opinion. Everyone that knows him knows he has a volatile temper, very unstable. When my ex-wife and I were courting we used to spend alternate weekends at each other’s houses and when it was my turn to stay at her place with her parents I dreaded it, I really did. What’s more, I get why my ex-wife was like she was when we were married. We are all to some degree the product of our upbringing and, frankly, she had a crap start to her life.
Now, while I don’t condone my wife’s actions in respect to alienating my daughters from me when I was disfellowshipped, just as I don’t condone my own marital unfaithfulness, it does seem that finally, finally, we are at a stage where we can be honest with each other which is great. We both now recognise that we should have never got married. We realise we didn’t love each other and we’ve both agreed it would have been so much better if we could have sat down and discussed our feelings and gone our separate ways amicably without the infidelity and all the bad blood that developed between us. We also both acknowledge that that wasn’t an option as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Divorce was always something that Jehovah apparently hated and so we were stuck with each other for 25 years.
Now, for me, everything changed in 2004 when I woke up to the fact that I was in a cult. Not only was I not happy in my marriage, but I also felt the painful consequences of pretending to believe. As I’ve explained before I was disfellowshipped from 2006 to 2009 but then I got reinstated despite not believing it was “the truth”, and why? Well, I did it for my kids. I hated the thought that they would get baptised and then shun me when they got older. So for 10 long years I was married to someone I didn’t love, and who now confesses she didn’t love me either, as well as being trapped in a cult I didn’t believe in. It’s really no wonder at all that it affected my mental health as it did and led to me finally cracking and having a relationship with someone who I did, genuinely, love.
And the thing is, now my ex-wife understands. Obviously, she’s still very hurt that I cheated on her and I don’t know if she will ever forgive me but she’s told me “it’s in the past” which I’m really grateful for, and knowing that she didn’t love me really helps make sense of what happened in our marriage. While I’m not condoning my marital unfaithfulness I do, finally, feel like a heavy weight has been lifted from me. I don’t feel quite as guilty as before. I can see why things went wrong. I can even see why my wife was the way she was while we were married. The fact is, we both made mistakes but we were in a cult. So many of our relationship problems were related to being in a cult but now we’re both out of that and I’m happy about that. As my ex-wife said it probably took our marriage breaking up for her to finally see that Jehovah’s Witnesses wasn’t “the truth”.
So after all is said and done it seems we’ve ended up on the same page. We both see the Watch Tower organisation for what it is now. We know it’s not “the truth”. We both accept that we never loved each other and should have never married but did because of the cult and because of her abusive father. Honestly, I really do think he bears a lot of responsibility in this.
So, I owe my ex-wife an apology. I have actually apologised to her in person. If indeed, she didn’t kick my daughters out of the home then I have to ask what happened? Why have my kids ended up living with my ex-wife’s Witness parents? It seems it is down to parental alienation on their part. Once again, Jehovah’s Witnesses have put their stupid religion ahead of familial ties. It sounds like my in-laws (my ex-in-laws) may have turned my children against not just me but now my ex-wife as well and then swooped in to save the day when she disassociated.
And so now my ex-wife is feeling the full weight of the shunning mandate just as I did two and a half years ago and you know what? I’m not happy about that. She said to me I was probably thinking “I told you so”, but honestly no I’m not. I think shunning is appalling whoever it is you’re shunning and the fact my self-righteous in-laws have managed to turn my kids against both myself and my ex-wife now is unforgivable, it really is.
But as it stands, our family of six—me, my wife, and our four kids—we are now 4/6ths out of the cult. That’s good! In addition to me and my ex, our two oldest children are both disassociated. Our oldest sadly hasn’t replied to any of my messages or my wife’s messages. I thought that was because he was upset at how I’d shunned him in the past—understandable—but he’s also not responding to my ex-wife which really surprises me because they were always very close. My second oldest child is, I’m pleased to say, in touch with my ex-wife so that’s a positive. She still hates me, but at least she’s out of the cult so that’s something.
So that just leaves my two youngest kids trapped in the cult, brainwashed—in part due to their strict upbringing, of which I am partly to blame—and living with two of the most obnoxious people I know. A truly self-righteous, judgemental, angry, mean couple who parade as “Christians” before their congregation. Honestly, if only people knew what they were like behind closed doors. I hope my daughters don’t suffer from being in their household the way that my ex-wife did.
So, apologies to my ex-wife—if I misjudged her—are in order. As a disfellowshipped person, shunned, I’m pretty much in the dark these days and can only go on the information I’m given which unsurprisingly isn’t always true.
Right now, I actually feel for my ex-wife. Despite all the bad feelings between us in the past, I really would not wish shunning upon her or anyone else. It’s barbaric. It’s cruel. But I’m also pleased that she’s woken up, that she’s left the cult, and that now she now has the chance for a life free of the control, abuse, and brainwashing that’s been her life’s story until now. I truly wish my ex-wife happiness for the future.
That’s all for now. Join me next time.