The Counting On alum, 32, claimed that Jim Bob, 58, and Michelle, 56, isolated her and her siblings during their childhoods, which prevented them from learning about lifestyles that are different from their own.
“If you can isolate somebody, you can control them,” Jill told Vanity Fair in an interview published on Wednesday, September 13.
Jim Bob and Michelle raised their kids to follow the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) teachings. One of the non-denominational Christian organization’s guidelines enforced women to dress modestly and only wear skirts that go past their knees.
Since becoming estranged from her family, Jill has been able to discover many firsts including wearing pants, getting her nose pierced, drinking alcohol and even sending her sons to public school. She added that she hopes “people will find courage in [her] story.”
While she’s happy to be creating her own path, Jill revealed that not all of her family members approve.
She said that she has “limited contact” with her father, adding, “We’ve had to draw some pretty strict boundaries just for our own health and well-being.” Meanwhile, Jill admitted her relationship with Michelle can be “difficult at times” because “she’s kind of caught in the middle of everything.”
Not only has she distanced herself from her parents, but Jill’s relationships with her siblings have also changed. “We have some who are very supportive. Jinger and Jeremy [Vuolo] have been very supportive during Derick and I’s journey,” she shared. “Other siblings have been privately supportive, and then some have not been quite as supportive — and that’s okay. I also see where they are at and I’m like, ‘I was there not very long ago.’ So I can extend grace.”
While Jill has been known as the rebel of her family for years, she’s become even more vocal about her strained family dynamic since releasing her memoir, Counting the Cost, on Tuesday, September 12.
In the book, which she cowrote with her husband, Derick Dillard, and Craig Borlase, Jill recalled being exposed to other lifestyles for the first time when she was around 8 or 9 years old during a family trip to the beach in Savannah, Georgia.
“That trip to the beach was my first time seeing so many people wearing bathing suits in public,” Jill wrote. “Even though my parents had been careful to take us to the quietest corner of the quietest beach, I could still see people in the distance wearing what looked to me like practically nothing – a few couples, lots of families.”
The former TLC personality explained that she “didn’t want to get any bad thoughts into my head, so I tried not to stare.” She admitted it was “hard” to not look at the other people on the beach, though Jill added she was especially “worried for Pops and my brothers.”
“Us girls had been told often how much harder it was for boys to keep their thoughts pure,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine the battles they were fighting out there on the sand.”
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