Why do churches still make me panic ?

by Aiesha Harley 36 Replies latest jw friends

  • Aiesha Harley
    Aiesha Harley

    Hi there

    I'm really glad i've found this site a week ago. Reading some of the stories and comments on here has really helped. There are so many out there who's lives have been ruined by the so-called truth.

    I was brought up in the truth as an elders daughter, youngest of 5, a brother and sister had been disfellowshiped, other brother had left as a teenager and my other sister is still sitting on the fence aged 40 going on 15, if she'd made a decision instead of sitting on the fence I'm convinced she wouldn't be the alcoholic mess she is today! As the youngest child still in the truth, my parents clung onto the fact that I was the only one who would be saved at armageddon. It's not nice to have your dad sitting on your bed crying every night because you've told him you don't want to go to the meetings anymore. Emotional pressure is so unfair and i still feel incredibly bitter about that whole time in my life.

    Anyway, I'd like to know if churches send anyone else into a blind panic? I think for me, it's actually being inside and seeing altars. Since the age of 17 when I left WTS, everytime i go into a church I shake uncontrollably and only now at the age of 31 I don't cry. It's not so much a fear of being struck down by lightening, I think it's more the fact that the whole religion thing, no matter what religion or church, makes me really panicky and has made me afraid to even talk to others about their beliefs for fear of being dragged into another cult. It took me 5 years to finally pluck up the courage to leave the last one!

    I find it really hard to talk about life in the truth to people who haven't experienced it. To begin with I felt so bitter and it painful to talk about. Now I feel like i'm being over dramatic, surely it couldn't have been that bad compared to what people caught up in wars go through is it?

    I'm starting to open my mind to other beliefs, but still panic when I'm in churches. Does anyone else experience the same thing?

  • Dansk

    First of all, WELCOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm starting to open my mind to other beliefs,


    but still panic when I'm in churches. Does anyone else experience the same thing?

    Well, that's understandable seeing what you've been through! However, as you mention above, you're starting to open up your mind to other beliefs and this all part of the healing process. You have to realise you've had a lifetime of rubbish embedded into your brain, so you're bound to have panic attacks. Many here will be able to identify with you and have real empathy - but they have come through it and so will you!

    You DON'T have to go to church in any case. No one is forcing you and you DON'T have to feel guilty for not going. Take life easy for now until you feel you've really found your feet. Please try and relax. No God is going to punish you for your trying to live a normal life. It seems like you've got feelings of guilt when you've nothing to feel guilty about. Believe me, many of us have found a wonderful spirituality based on love NOT fear. The same will eventually happen for you, too, but you must try and relax and please accept that you have done nothing wrong and are doing nothing wrong.

    There is no need to feel you HAVE to find God or spirituality. Eventually, it will find you. You'll instinctively know that what you are doing is good because YOU'LL feel good.

    I'm truly sorry about the hurt caused within your family. It's an all too familiar story here. You are now amongst friends. Happy Christmas!


  • Forscher

    I'll second Dansk on this one.
    Don't feel pressured on the next step. You've left a very pressured environment, there is no need to jump right into another! Take your time. Look your options over carefully before you commit anywhere. And by all means, avoid any other controling group like the JW's. Seek out that which helps you grow.


  • Ned

    Because you, like all of us, have been spiritually raped.

  • Aiesha Harley
    Aiesha Harley

    Wow, I wasn't expecting any replies, just goes to show there are friends out there.

    Thanks to Dansk for your kind words - i've seen some of your other posts and understand you've been through an incredibly tough time, I hope you're feeling better and that your other daughter has seen sensed and got back in contact.

    Thanks also to Ned (completely agree) and Forscher for comments too.

    I only go into churches when my friends are getting married, though have also been to a couple of funerals (and a JW funeral for my dad 3 years ago which completely freaked me out!).

    I guess after years of being told what to think and believe and then a few more years of trying to work out my place in the big wide world I'm starting to realise that the blinkers need to come off - I don't want to rush things and it'll be a very very long time before i down the route of working out what i believe.

    It's so nice to know that there are people on this site who care about others and know the true meaning of unconditional love and respect.

  • codeblue

    I third what Dansk said

    Spiritual abuse is abuse. I too was raised as a JW.... Upon learning the truth about the "truth" (tm), I have no desire to become involved in another religion. At the same time, if one has that need, I think it is great if it works for them.

    One book that really helped me was "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse'......you would think it was written by people that were JW's, but it isn't.

    Like Dansk said, there is NO need to find a religion or church. Your spirituality is between you and God alone...

    Welcome to this board


  • SPAZnik

    It's a perfectly natural response, your perfectly natural response to some of the things you've been through and as a result are habitually putting yourself through.

    Congrats on your emotional honesty and welcome to the forum. I'm sure you'll find ppl here that relate.

    SPAZZY :)

  • greendawn

    Aiesha welcome to the forum, your panic has to be due to the mind conditioning by the WTS, because for so long you would hear that other religions are satanic. IMO none of the serious Christian religions are satanic but the cultish ones like the JWs are really satanic in nature. Like the ancient Israelites who didn't always do what they should, the churches also failed in many respects but that doesn't mean they will get rejected right away.

    You will have to carefully study the JW propaganda and see how it is invalid, there are many websites covering the issue very well.

  • jschwehm

    Yes, I know what you mean.

    The first few times I entered a Christian church I became physically ill. I was raised a JW and I believe it was all of the programming. What made it worse in a sense was that the first time we went it was during Advent/Christmas season and that is when they read all of those scriptures about the Last Days and the End of the World so that made it worse.

    In any case, it is perfectly understandable that you would experience this. I can certainly relate to it. It goes away as you learn more about what the Christian churches really teach and what they are really like (since the JWs have just given you a caricature of the Christian Churches) and what you learn about the real history of the JWs.

    If you ever want to talk you can email me at [email protected]

    God's blessings to you,

    Jeff Schwehm


  • Narkissos

    Welcome Aiesha,

    I wish I had been scared of ever entering a Kingdom Hall... it would have saved many years of my life!

    Now seriously I was never scared of entering any church, perhaps due to the fact that I had been a Catholic child before becoming a JW at age 13. Yet I can relate to what you said because I have been scared of many things during my JW time.

    As Ian said, the good thing with Churches is that you don't have to go there. And with such irrational fears, my advice would be not to go against them, just name them and move on with your life. Like any nightmare they will eventually vanish.

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