Oh crap - I just saw that Brian's one and only post was three years ago so not much chance he will see my post. TG-Jasper - thanks for bumping this important thread.
Mental Health Issues in JW Women
The JW religion is a totally toxic place, especially for a woman. As a single working woman I was not tolerating the intrusiveness that other women there thought was "normal". These men weren't supporting me and my business was none of theirs.
I am glad I got the hell out of there.
The woman in my ex hall are in it all the way and its emotional for them . The emotional pull and brainwashing are what keeps them koo koo for coco puffs. And it seems that woman wake up less often then men from this cult. When they do wake up its often do to an emotional issue. Several of the woman in this hall are depressed and seeing head doctors.
priceless. this is priceless!
I saw lots of depression with and without meds, alcoholism, and eating disorders in female jdubs in my twenty years. Seems to be getting worse among those I see (infrequently).
Son just told me, Dad you remember the xxxxfamily? Yes, the husband (elder)
and I were good friends. My son, I saw her the other day with
her son (Gay) and daughter. We knew the son was gay at a early age.
My son said the mother is completely bunkers (nuts). I thought about
this sister, a pillow in the congregation among the sisters, husband an elder
but she ran the show.. I felt sorry for him.
Well one day about 10 years ago he left the family, he just picked up and moved
back home in the south. He sent her a letter asking for a divorce...
Another sister I knew from high school, she had mental issues before becoming
a JW she would just stare at you, make you very uncomfortable. She love working
alone in the street work, she would work the area around the liquor stores...
I must add I also knew brothers that walked a different step, that was short
of a nickel...
" too much time on their hands" ????
I was a single mother, working at various jobs
to pay the rent, feed and clothe myself and my child
and pay my own way through university, which I succeeded
at and then ran my own business. I was also (incredibly)
and active JW. There were three times as many men
than women in the jw organization, and the men were
janitors or did menial labor and had no education.
The men who were unmarried were looking at women 20
years their junior. "Worldly" men who tried to date me
were put off, when they found out I was a witness.
The Elders were intimidated by the fact I made more money
than most of them. I was under suspician for having gone
to university and for being a single mom and for asking too
many questions. My only mistake was not to leave when
my daughter was very young and drag her through those
destructive and isolated years. The few creative people I knew
have left long ago, except for some businessmen who profit
by the "brothers" and those who like the fantasy that being
an elder makes them "important". Or men whose wives would
leave them in a heartbeat if they left the WT.
Anyone who thinks spending 2-4 hrs a week for indoctrination at the KH is not harming them-
mentally, emotionally, morally and spiritually needs to think again.
It's a cult! Even when you are fully cognizant of that fact you are still vulnerable to their insidious attacks on your self esteem.
You come home from meetings not even knowing why you are feeling vaguely depressed and anxious, you blame yourself for being "weak".
It's a vicious cycle. What makes it worse is while you are in that cycle you don't see the connection.
You think "I am strong enough to deflect this crap, I am ok"
But it will take it's toll. Not if-WHEN!
This shouldn't be a shock. Women have always been treated terrible within the WTBS
Women have very little importance in the organization. A woman can Pioneer, which gives you status, but that is outside the congregation, not within it. The only other way to achieve status is to be married to an elder. The interfering elderette is a cliche, and there may be some truth to it, but the fact is, there are some very intelligent women in the religion who have talents and abilities are being wasted. Since I left the Witnesses I have attended churches where women were a vital part of the congregation. Women were free to engage in those jobs that suited their inclinations and talents, and it made for a stronger, more vibrant congregation, and was much more fulfilling for everyone, not just the women. So these elderettes may be that way because they feel frustrated and stuck in a role they are not suited for, not good for your mental health at all.
Then you have the women who are not married to an elder, they also may have talents and abilities that are being wasted, plus they have no status at all. They are easy prey for elders (or elderettes) that may dislike them, and at the least are simply ignored. This was especially so for women married to an unbelieving mate, or worse, a disfellowshiped one. They are often viewed with suspicion, even hostility, as if the sins of their spouse had rubbed off on them. This is not condusive to good mental health either.
Another factor that may impact mental health is the strict policy on divorce. We all knew couples that were miserable, but stuck, because they couldn't leave and get remarried without getting disfellowshipped. It's also a sad fact that some women are married to abusive men, and they have very little recourse, especially if the abuser is an elder.
I believe that this is a religion that is, at its heart, hostile to women. They may give lip service the the part that women play, but in practice they are viewed as a necessary evil.