Jw upbringing and retarded social growth.

by AK - Jeff 68 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    I was raised a Jw, by an inactive Jw mom. Looking back, and reflection on my childhood, causes me to wonder.

    I honestly did not miss the holidays, for example. I never had them, so nothing was taken away in that regard. Some regard this as almost abuse - no holidays - I don't.

    But, I do wonder how the Jw mindset affected my growth as a child [and subsequently as an adult]. I remember that my 'worldly' friends, always very few in number, were also the social misfits, the outsiders, the geeky kids who didn't fit in anywhere else. They were the ones who, perhaps due to their own natural 'outsiderness', were able to accept even the goofy Jw kid into the group.

    I don't recall, for example, having a single friend in the first few years of school. I do recall feeling very alone. I was a late bed-wetter, had recurrent bouts with dreams that indicated vulnerability [you know the naked sitting in classroom variety], and became a loner. All of this drove me deeper into the cult, because I knew that what I was sacrificing was for 'Jehovah'.

    And though I don't resent the friendships I had with those kids - I wonder how it retarded my normal growth by being 'out of touch' with all the more center-line children. Once I hit the teen years, that chasm was ever wider, of course, and more social growth was missed in those years. That made me 'ripe for pickin' once one of the local pioneers saw me on the sidelines, started a personal study with me at age 14 or so.

    That pioneer then became my 'best friend' [just a year and a half older than me] - and he went off to Bethel. Six months after he left he jumped off a building there. Alone again naturally. Then his brother who had become my 'best friend', precisely my age, also went off to Bethel. He stayed for seven years and our friendship died over time. In the meantime I became friends with another brother who was our age. At 18 he was killed in a tragic accident.

    The combined affect of these events has shaped me. Precisely how it has affected me, I am not sure. I believe I am largely a loner due to this. I don't know even why I started this thread. I am not unhappy with who I am. I just wonder who I might have been had I not been locked into a culture that discouraged relationships outside it's insular circle. I wonder if scientific studies have been done on this? Lord knows there are enough cults that have affected millions of kids' growth.


  • Awakened at Gilead
    Awakened at Gilead


    I have had trouble making friends and feeling inadequate socially for my whole life. Since I came out a month ago I feel like I am becoming a social person once again...

    [email protected]

  • Anti-Christ

    Thanks for sharing that, it sounds like my teen years, I think that what happens to us when we are young does influence you we are later on but there is the genetic factor that influences who we are. I do have social handicaps, I always get stomach cramps when I am about to go to a social gathering or I am going to be in a group, it's not easy sometimes I am going to see a psychologist to help me with that. The funny thing though is that for some reason even if I am very uncomfortable in public I am often the center of attraction in a party or a get together. Also a lot of people confide in me or ask me for advice, I don't get it.

  • yknot

    A very truthful post about a widespread occurance in JWkids.

    Some of my life is similar except none of the JW kids were allowed to associate with me either after 1980, and the worldly kids hated JWkids.

    Oh well I can say I am not easily swayed by peer pressure or nationalistic overkill.

    I still haven't learned to make (or accept) friends.....but I have many acquaintances and am great at putting others at ease with witty conversation and funny observations. Comedy is a great mask and ice breaker.

    While I am at total ease by being alone, I wonder often if it is a case of nature or nurture.

    If I hadn't been a JWkid would I be one of those people who does themes in their yard for each holiday?

    I just don't know.....I hate holidays.....but love decorating!

    Think I will bring this up with the therapist next time....

    Thanks again for opening up this topic!

  • flipper

    Jeff my friend - I really related to some of the things you mentioned in this post. I too was raised in the witnesses , and like you over the years I lost at least 3 very close witness friends in death as well. The effect losing these buddies of mine had on me was not wanting to become close friends with anybody because of fear of losing them. But since joining this board I have made several very good friends ( you know a couple of them ) in your area and I am trusting my heart again.

    I believe being in the Jehovah's Witness cult desensitizes our real emotions where we pull our authentic real feelings in , and replace them with robotic emotions. I have found in time ; the further I get away from the witness organization, ( 5 years now ) the more authentic and real I become which enables me to really open up to people and become friends. I know you have a heavy load ; if you ever want to talk, just PM me, I'm here

  • Highlander
    I do recall feeling very alone. I was a late bed-wetter, had recurrent bouts with dreams that indicated vulnerability

    Me too. I assure you that you're not the only one who's personality was f$cked over by this cult.

    I never felt comfortable as a j-dub, so I perfected the ability to mimic or copy the personality of whomever I was friends with at school. It was my way of fitting in and trying to gain acceptance. Sort of, a double personality. A way of escaping the fear that was forced down my throat while playing the good little j-dub persona.

    As an adult, I can make friends with anyone I meet. The problem is, I never retain or continue contact with the new friends that I make every day. I'm searching for and slowly discovering my missing true personality. At this time, I think my biggest hurdle is getting past the indoctrination(brainwashing) that I cannot be friends with 'worldy' people. If I can get past this, then maybe I'll develop a true network of friends outside of the jdubs.

  • Tyrone van leyen
    Tyrone van leyen

    Oh my favourite topic! Gee you sound a lot like me Jeff old boy. I really do wonder the impact of all that crap too. I was a loner at school, a loner on the streets and now I'm still a loner. I really do beleive the religion redirects natural urges for social cohesion at key moments in developmental stages of growing up, that forever leaves some in a bind. It is being cast in a mould. I think for those that are able to escape unscathed, is because they wern't born in it, or didn't have parents that enforced it.

    Seems that there are a few that made the big jump at Bethel. Perhaps that comes when the realization sets in, that you have wasted your life to a lie and are in to deep to make change. The mould is too strong and the internal conflict becomes too great to bear when the disonnance lifts. Sorry for your loss.

  • sass_my_frass

    I've thought about this. I think I would have been quite the nerd even if I wasn't a JW, and the JW-factor actually worked in my favour in that I got a lot of pity. A few years ago I remembered that teachers used to say that I was so 'mature', but they stopped saying that in my early teens - I was years behind the other kids, and actually stayed that way right through my twenties. I think they meant to say 'well-behaved and respectful' rather than mature, because for most of my life I've been pretty judgmental and self-righteous, and quite a bore. But I know a lot of JWs who don't take that road - they're pretty together, and can balance the JW games and build an almost-normal life around the JW lifestyle. If I'd been that type of person it wouldn't have mattered whether I was a JW or not.

  • Tyrone van leyen
    Tyrone van leyen

    Sass, are you saying it's genetic in your case. I know that the world is made up of all kinds, it's true. Some people see the world much differently. There are plenty of maladjusted people, who have never had any religion. Some folks, you can throw the worst at them and they bounce right back or adjust by leading a double life.

    Problem is, for what is considered socially normal, which we all desire to be, the witnesses are antisocial in the larger sense of society itself. Yes genetics might play some part, but for someone maladjusted or different to begin with, I can't see this being any good for self esteem. It is a pecking order. It has no soul. It itself, is socially maladjusted.

    If you fill your mind with anything other than reality you have no tools to work with in the real world. If you had no sense of reality to begin with, which is the case of all witness kids, it amounts to a bad start in the search for self, regardless of being different. Even intellects can fall deep into the rabbit hole and be consumed by it. Terry

    Nature versus nurture is a tough one, but the odds are never in favour of those who live by someone elses agenda. Exploration of self is a lot easier with the abscence of a cult.

    Spirituality is measured by how many magazines you place rather than good deeds or decency . That is incorrect programming.

    Being told that shunning others is an act of love to make sinners repent is incorrect programming.

    Not allowing kids to go to social events is incorect social programming.

    Being told you will die at Harmaggedon and the only thing worth doing with your life is to preach is grossy incorect programming.

    Telling a kid not to masturbate or dating must be chaperoned is indecent and incorrect social programming.

    It covers all aspects of the heart and mind.

  • Tired of the Hypocrisy
    Tired of the Hypocrisy

    Welcome to my club! I am sorry about the loss of so many friends. I wish I had three friends. I have one friend. I have known him since we were in 3rd and 4th grade. He is not a jw and my folks FORBADE me to hang with him. Both of us were socially retarded but we managed because of teh other's support. To this day I am shy, and wary of new people I meet. Goddamn the wtbts

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