Jill Duggar Dillard is standing up for herself in her new book.
In her memoir, Counting the Cost, Jill, 32, opens up about her experiences as part of the controversial 19 Kids and Counting reality TV family in which she was raised.
Among the book’s most explosive revelations is how she and her husband, Derick Dillard, clashed with family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar, accusing him of financial improprieties in how he shared (or failed to share) money from the show with the family members whose lives were documented on-screen.
In an exclusive excerpt from the book, Jill compares Jim Bob’s treatment of her to how he dealt with her eldest brother, Josh Duggar, who molested her and several of her siblings when they were younger and now is serving more than 12 years in prison on charges of downloading and possessing images of child sex abuse.
Jim Bob and his wife Michelle Duggar released a statement saying, “We love all of our children very much. As with any family, few things are more painful than conflicts or problems among those you love. … We do not believe the best way to resolve conflicts, facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation, or to communicate through difficulties is through the media or in a public forum so we will not comment.”
Below is the exclusive excerpt from Jill Duggar’s Counting the Cost, which will be published on September 12. It describes a meeting Jill and Derick had with Michele and Jim Bob — along with a mediator — when the family’s conflict reached a boiling point. Just before entering the building, a young woman approached Jim Bob to praise him and take a video together.
“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 wasn’t smiling from the video and the girl outside anymore. Instead, 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.
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.”