Jill Duggar to her dad, Jim-Bob: you treat me worse than my pedophile brother

Jill Duggar Dillard and her husband Derick’s new book, Counting the Cost, is out September 12. Last week, we covered how Jill and Derick wrote about the strain their 19 Kids and Counting spin-off Counting On put on their marriage, how manipulative her dad Jim Bob is, their fight over getting paid for the show, and their experience with therapy.

People.com has an exclusive book excerpt that details a meeting between the Dillards, Jill’s parents, Jim Bob and Michele, and a mediator. By the end of it, Jill is upset enough to straight up accuse her dad of treating her worse than her older brother Josh, who molested Jill and three of her siblings when they were children, and is currently serving a 12 year sentence for receiving and possessing child pornography. Jim Bob and Michele do not come off looking good at all. In fact, they look like such a–holes that I got angry reading it and want to give a trigger warning for abusive, manipulative parents. I’m including the entire excerpt for anyone that wants the full context, but totally understand if it hits too close to home to read. I’ll do a tl;dr for anyone who needs it after the excerpt.

“I’m sorry it took so long for this meeting to happen,” I said. My voice was shaking a little, and I could feel the breath stutter in my lungs. “There have been some very hurtful things that have happened, and so we wanted to sort it all out. To have a good discussion together. We love y’all and I know we all hope to be able to restore family relationships very soon.”

In the time I’d spoken, Pops’ body language had shifted. He was sitting very still, lips tight, eyes locked in a scowl that had been sculpted out of rock. “That letter you guys sent us.”

He stopped, like he was lost and didn’t know where to go. He looked at Mom. She looked at me.

There was no scowl on her face, no folded arms. Just a look of pain. The pain of a mama torn by her baby.

“It was the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever read.”

Her voice was soft, but her words hit me harder than anything she’d ever said to me.

I knew she was right, that she was speaking the truth. I didn’t know exactly how I’d messed up, but I knew that I had. I’d hurt her and Pops, and that was never my intention.

I heard Derick try to explain that we never meant for the letter to be taken that way. I looked at Pops. He was still scowling.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “We love y’all and could’ve used more care. We wrote the letter together and had hoped it would help explain our feelings, but I know we kept adding to it and then we were tired and just figured we had better go ahead send it along…”

My voice trailed off as I tried to find the right words. But Pops wasn’t listening to me. He had his own list of things he wanted to talk about.

“You sent me a text message, Jill. You said I was verbally abusing you. I was so offended by that, too. You know in your heart that’s not right. Are you going to apologize for that?”

I was nervous now. I remembered the message, remembered sending it in the hope that it might wake Pops up to how bad I felt things had gotten, to maybe make him give us a little space and let things calm down. I’d written about not wanting to be verbally abused, which was exactly how I’d felt at the time. I’d felt it in El Salvador as well. I wasn’t sure that I could apologize for that. I glanced at Derick as I remained speechless.

Pops must have sensed what I was thinking, because he suddenly stood up. “You’re not going to apologize? Really?”

His voice was loud, and there was an edge to it that I’d rarely heard. The moderator looked pale and was stuck on mute. Derick tensed, and I could feel him getting ready to step in. I squeezed his hand, hoping he’d get the message.

Hold back.
Please be quiet.
Do not let this get any worse than it already is.

We were facing each other from opposite couches, open space between us. Pops took a step toward me, closing the gap.

It wasn’t a gesture of reconciliation.

It was an act of aggression.

He towered over me, his whole body fueled with anger. My face flushed red. My eyes filled with tears.

Then there was a long, awful silence that I wanted to fill but just couldn’t yet.

Derick’s hand was shaking in mine, and I squeezed as hard as I ever had, desperate for him to hold his tongue.

“You know why you’re crying, don’t you? Your conscience is talking to you. That’s why.”

Pops’ voice was so loud in my ears. His words were like blows. I instinctively tried to protect myself and block him out. I curled up on my seat, trying to find safety in some kind of fetal position.

“You’re guilty!” Pops was yelling, stabbing a finger at me, standing right over me.

Mom started crying. Derick tried to speak, but I pulled him back.

“You want to know why I’m crying?” My voice was cracked, my eyes burning. “It’s that you think I’m some kind of horrible person just because I wear pants and have a nose ring, and yet you see that girl outside and praise her. That’s why I’m crying, Daddy. I’m evolving and changing, just like that girl out there, but you can’t see it. You treat me like I’m a prodigal who’s turned her back on you. You treat me worse than you treat my pedophile brother.”

[From People.com]

To sum it up, Jill’s parents want an apology for a text message that Jill and Derick sent them, in which they voiced their frustrations. At first, JB & Michele opt for the manipulative, melodramatic, “That was the most disrespectful thing we’ve ever seen!” When Jill doesn’t immediately give them the apology that they want, Jim Bob gets aggressive and makes an abusive comment about Jill’s crying. That is what causes her to retort that he treats her worse than he does her “pedophile brother.”

I know Jill and Derick are problematic in their own right, but it’s infuriating when parents do not treat their adult children like they are adults. There’s a difference between being mad at your kid for being a s— and being a s— to your kid because you’re mad at them. I think the line that really got to me was, “I didn’t know exactly how I’d messed up, but I knew that I had.” That is a telltale reaction of someone who has been emotionally abused. Good on Jill for speaking up for herself because it can be so difficult to do. She told her dad that he was verbally abusing her and he proved her point by verbally abusing her. And I’m sure she’s right about how she gets treated for committing the cardinal sin of having a mind of her own vs. how her parents reacted to what her brother did, which was to cover it up.

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43 Responses to “Jill Duggar to her dad, Jim-Bob: you treat me worse than my pedophile brother”

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  1. Ciotog says:

    What Josh did upholds male dominance. What Jill did threatens it. That’s the difference.

    • ML says:

      That and there’s possibly a question of Josh learning the behavior from someone. If so, there would be a need to protect that person/ those people as well. 🤢

      • Ciotog says:

        I watched the Duggar documentary recently and was shocked to see the girls’ appearance on Today or GMA after the accusations about Josh first came out. They had clearly been told what to say, because they said it word for word: “The girls didn’t even wake up.” Not ‘we didn’t even wake up,” but “the girls didn’t even wake up.” I found that so, so chilling.

    • Bettyrose says:

      Sadly, so much of our culture can still be explained this way, more tolerance/social acceptance for that which upholds patriarchy than challenges it.

    • Nina says:

      I can’t reply to your comment a little further down about the Duggar girls being told in their interview what to say. Not only that, but what’s worse: Josh Duggar was IN THE ROOM, off camera when they had to give the interview.

  2. MF says:

    This is awful but not surprising. Christian fundamentalism is itself based on control and the consolidation of white male power, so it is the perfect refuge for abusive people.

  3. Emily says:

    I’m really interested in this book because I think Jill is ready to burn it down (or nearly).

    • K-Peace says:

      I have so much hope for Jill. I’m so proud of her for how far she’s come. I’m hoping so much that she comes around to changing her belief system so that she no longer, for example, thinks being gay is wrong. It seems she might be on a path towards eventually getting there. It’s hard to un-do the belief system that’s been hammered into your head since birth. The farther she gets from her Trump-loving hate-filled family, the better. I remember her posting something on Instagram that seemed to be possibly pro-Kamala Harris around the time of the inauguration which made me so hopeful. I hope she keeps on this path of becoming less bigoted and more liberal.

      • Lucy says:

        That’s how I feel too, K-Peace. I really think she’ll keep moving away from what she was raised in and become openly accepting of a lot of people her parents hate.

      • Emily says:

        I hope so too. Deconstruction takes a long time.

      • Ciotog says:

        I really fear for the younger male Duggars. The chance of having a gay son goes up when there are older brothers. Just statistically there is little chance that they don’t have an LGBT+ kid.

    • VoominVava says:

      Can you imagine if she didn’t marry Derrick? What would her life have been like? He’s completely different than I’d thought he’d be. They’re lucky to have found each other. I bet Jim Bob regrets that setup! I wish her the best.

  4. salmonpuff says:

    What kind of mediator doesn’t work to de-escalate in that situation? Jim Bob was physically threatening her by standing over her and getting in her space. The mediator should have stepped in at that point and made it clear that physical aggression would result in termination of the discussion.

    My father pulled that #$@! with me for a long time. He only stopped when I started immediately walking out when it got to that point.

    Anyway, the Duggars are gross and I’m glad their carefully curated image is crumbling.

    • BeanieBean says:

      That was my thought, too. It’s entirely possible that mediator was a member of their church, or similar church. Or was a woman, whom JimBob would have ignored.

      • Char says:

        That is the thought amongst the fundiesnark board I follow- either it was a church member/family member/someone JB & M picked out, or the other thought is that it was a mediator that was supposed to be going over the financial aspect of what Jill & Derek were asking for- so possibly someone not actually equipped to handle this situation at all.

    • Izzy says:

      One who was handpicked and working for Jimbob and Michy, most likely.

      • JudyB says:

        Excellent point about the mediator! Isn’t a mediator supposed to mediate? In other words, step in a guide the conversation? This one should be cited for malpractice for just sitting there and allowing one set of parties to intimidate the other set.

  5. Andrea says:

    She wrote this about her mother: “ There was no scowl on her face, no folded arms. Just a look of pain. The pain of a mama torn by her baby. ”

    I mean, she’s being way to nice to Michelle. The pain of a mama torn by her baby. Jill was a baby for about 8 months at which point her mother was pregnant with the next. I’m glad Jill is speaking out. These people deserve to be expose for this monsters they are. Sadly, it all seems to repeat itself. Anyone see Jessa’s YouTube? The girl is stone cold to her children . Awful. Awful. Awful.

    • Steph says:

      I thought Jessa was the other one breaking away? I could be wrong but if not it goes to show how much deconstruction really needs to happen. One generation of trauma (neither jb or m were brought up like this) will take several generations to heal.

      • Chaine says:

        No, Jessa has like a half dozen kids and iirc lives in Jim bob’s back yard. The other one who left is Jinger who lives in California and gets often featured in the tabloids merely for wearing shorts.

      • BQM says:

        Uggh, the news broke the other day Jessa is expecting #5.

      • Lucky Charm says:

        @BQM didn’t they just move into a three bedroom house last year? If you’re going to move into a bigger house, and refuse to use birth control, at least make it a five or six bedroom house!

  6. Lucy says:

    I’m going to probably read this one, to support her. She seems to be the one in the most supportive marriage, and she’s moving away from what she was raised in. I know she and her husband have some problematic beliefs, but they’ve shown the most ability to change their minds, and I don’t think they’re stuck believing that forever.

    Online, the Trad wife people are losing their shit that she’s “sinning ” by speaking against her parents, and her dad has her siblings posting a bunch of distractions.

    I guess, I’m still deconstructing the sh*t I learned as just a regular southern baptist kid, who had supportive, open minded parents (for baptist) and wasn’t in a cult. The purity culture and white patriarchy roots are deep and insidious, I haven’t been to an SBC church in 14+ years and I still catch stuff that I don’t actually believe affecting me. I wish them well.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      I don’t agree with Jill & Derick on plenty, but they’ve been very brave in breaking away from an abusive family/religious environment. In another universe, Jill’s parents would admire her courage & appreciate how the spouses are supporting one another.

    • Megan says:

      I think that Jill and Derek are growing. Jill actually follows Biden on insta and liked some of his posts.

      I know law school moved me significantly to the left, and I wonder if it did that to Derek too

  7. Brenda says:

    It’s like she thinks that should be a reality check for him, but maybe there are going to be several layers of reality check in there for her…..

  8. AmyB says:

    My knowledge of the Duggar family was vague and then only came from the scandal surrounding their pedophile son being arrested and jailed. The fact that these vile parents protected their predator son when he molested his sisters and then acted in such an abusive, gaslighting, and manipulative manner towards their daughter is beyond comprehension. I applaud Jill for finding the strength to break free from this indoctrination, and for finding her own voice.

    • Bad Janet says:

      It speaks volumes about how much value women and girls have, outside of taking care of family responsibilities.

  9. Steph says:

    I’m surprised I have so much sympathy for her. Even in her current state I find her and her beliefs awful. But it’s hard not to cheer her on and wish her the best. Maybe she’ll help others realize they are being abused and her story may help them get out.
    That being said, I won’t be reading this book. Not even for free. I’ll keep up with it but I can’t deal with the horrible writing. I truly won’t be able to get through it. The sad part about that is that it shows another level of her abuse. She lacks an education and it shows in her writing. Her isolation shows in her communication. Really sad situation all around. I hope enough comes out to get the younger kids taken away.

  10. Somebody Nobody says:


  11. Celina says:

    There was a moderator in this meeting? Where the hell were they when JB stood up over Jill?

  12. Enis says:

    And yet she still endorses Christian Fundamentalism. I would argue her brand is far more dangerous, as it is dressed in modern clothing and seems more acceptable.

    • Chaine says:

      bingo. she is still anti-choice, anti lgbtq+, anti-feminist, etc. just in a more culturally acceptable clothing style and allowing that birth control might be OK.

  13. Lala11_7 says:

    I wonder does she & her husband deconstruct his HORRIFIC transphobia and how he targeted TLC’s Jazz for YEARS!

  14. Bumblebee says:

    Emotional abuse is hard to recognize when you are the victim. All of the little manipulations, phrases, body language, that you instinctively react to, still as an adult. She’s dead and I’m still going through memories of things she would say to me and realizing that it was not okay. And it was nowhere near the control and abuse of the Duggars.
    I hope it gets better for Jill and worry about the kids stuck in that house. Even the adult kids, like Jana.

  15. Bee (not THAT Bee) says:

    I love this for Jim Bob or Joe Bob or whatever his name is, and his mewling wife. Go, Jill!

    Breaking away from mind control and thought stopping and abuse is a process that takes time. She’s doing great considering how she grew up. I bet she’s not done growing.

  16. @poppedbubble says:

    I might read the book, but it will have to come through the library as I absolutely won’t buy it. I don’t understand anyone who reads the problematic statements and then decides to support them financially just because you empathize with the horrible things they experienced. They’re not disavowing their crap, which would be different. Buying that book implicitly supports transphobia, etc. How? Because you KNOW they are making these statements and choose to buy the book anyway. Anyway, check that shit out of the library.

  17. Janice Hill says:

    If Jill and her husband had watched Dr. Ramani on YouTube, they would know about DARVO (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender). And they would know that JimBlob was using that technique of narcissistic manipulation. It’s not too late for her. I just finished watching the documentary, and it occurred to me that JBlob chose boys he thought he could control as husbands for his daughters. But it’s backfired. They seem to be supportive and nice to their wives.

    • Lucky Charm says:

      Jessa seems to be the only one with a husband he can control. And only because Ben was so young (18 or 19) when he married her.

  18. Lily says:

    The parents are so convinced of their moral rectitude that they cannot admit they have made any mistakes which is so typical of abusive fundamentalist parents.

    Look up the Quiverful Movement. What it believes about children and how to discipline them. The founder gave downright psychologically and physically abusive recommendations.

    As I read a summary of Quiverful’s founder’s beliefs, I kept shaking my head in the affirmative. My mother did that and that and that and my father was right there with her even though he is a lapsed Catholic and my mother is a Bible thumping Southern Baptist.

    My father tries to whitewash history because he wants to be thought of as the good guy in my childhood. After my brother spoke out in 2014 about how bigoted and abusive my mother is, my father saw the family and friend’s negative reactions. My father started saying that he doesn’t know anything about any of it.

    Sorry daddy /sarc. I see you and cannot unsee you. You were there. You participated. You thought raising children was easy because “you just hit them until they agree with you.” You sick mother effer.