AK Jeff,...great subject. I have often thought about this. (Sorry, this is long)
I was born in... and raised in a neighborhood with a few JW's my own age, along with plenty of non JW's in close proximity. Before kindergarten started, I played with everyone and had lots of girlfriends. There must have been at least 10 to 15 with in a one block radius.
My mother was a fanatical JW. The older I got, the more fanatical she became about social contacts. By time I hit first grade, unless I was holding a bible study with one of my friends, I couldn't go to their homes or have them come to mine. Of course the parents were also witnessed to and became put off by my mother's constant preaching. This in turn also trickled down to all the kids in the neighborhood.
Mom had no use for neighbors who would not listen, so we became "objects of hatred". All self induced of course. The witness kids I could play with came from very dysfunctional families. At least 2 wife beaters within 3 blocks. So I developed a very warped sense of what was normal. As long as they were JW's.....they were OK. (I remember an evening where a husband had beaten his wife and she came running to my parents house).....The husband followed and knelt in our front yard wailing for forgiveness....I was about 6 or 7 at the time, every single surrounding neighbor was out watching in their drive ways.
Because of our reputation in the neighborhood, Halloween was always the worst. Every year "F... You " was spray painted on the side of our house in 6 foot letters. Trees were "TP'd" and eggs were thrown at the windows. (I still hate Halloween)...we always spent the following week cleaning up, repainting and washing windows.....persecution made my mother all the more ferverent! We had to open the door and say..."We don't celebrate!)
I was taught not to think too much of myself or have any self pride. Just pride at being a Jehovah's Witness and to make sure everyone knew.
I was taught to feel superior in that regard. The more backlash there was the prouder I could be of holding that distinction. Besides the neighbors, the teachers eventually started to hate us. All the fuss and bother of removing us during celebrations to the library, no holiday art work allowed, no flag salute, no school plays involving just about anything and in music class limited participation. No sports, no after school participation in anything.
Remember this was the 60's and JW's were considered as odd as the Mormons in the recent crack down. We also dressed as oddly. We stood out just the same and sounded the same, more than they do now if you can imagine.
So what did this do to a child's ability to be social.....? It destroyed any ego or self worth, it warped values, the ability to maintain friendships or trust in anyone.
The final nail in the coffin was when I was DF'd at age 16. It cut a chunk out of my heart that will never heal. Yes I left it all behind, but there is a permanent kind of dysfunctional non attachment to the human race portion of me. (I don't know if that makes sense to anyone)