Jw upbringing and retarded social growth.

by AK - Jeff 68 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • changeling

    I was raised a witness in a very big way by overly zealous parents. I was also on only child. While as an adult I have developed good social skills and have always been "popular" (for lack of a better term), when I think back on things I said and did as a child, I know I was socially awkward, to say the least.

    changeling :)

  • undercover


    I can relate to a lot of what you experienced. I too was an outsider growing up as a JW. I lived in a small community and went to a small school during my first several years at school. By high school when I was living in a city and was going to a large school, I was even more an outsider and alone.

    I had JW friends, but with the exception of two or three, they weren't life-long buddies, just kids thrown together 3 or 4 times a week so we learned to co-exist and play together. As we grew up our so-called friendships grew apart. I still have a few JW friends, but as I have become inactive they have slowly pulled away from me.

    I learned as a kid to entertain myself through books, movies and my own imagination. Partly it was a self-defense mechanism...I couldn't get hurt by people who I thought were friends when they would end up turning on me because of my religion or because I was different.

    To this day, I usually prefer my own company over that of a group of people. I have made some new friends outside of the KH setting...but since I've been friends with these people for less than 5 years or so, I still feel like there is something seperating us. There isn't a life long bond. There isn't a common background...I know that I'm fucked up socially. They're so much more adjusted to social settings that I probably will never be comfortable in.

    And yet, like you said, I'm not unhappy. And in some ways I feel like the experience has made me stronger in some ways. But then I wouldn't wish my experiences on anyone else.

    There are better ways to teach children to be self-reliant and to stand up for their beliefs than the way I was taught. Part of it would go back on the parents and their teaching children to think, to question, to be curious and to want to know why, how, when, etc. And allow them to form their own opinions and thoughts...and allow them to make decisions when they show the ability to think things through with logic and reason. To suppress their thoughts and force them to fit a narrow definition of being a model child or religious follower is to stifle their growth later as adults.

  • Mulan
    Yes they were liberal - at least compared with my ultra-conservative Jw training here in the midwest. I think that had I [or you] visited the other's congregations in those days, Mulan, we would have wondered if we were truly part of the same religion.

    Actually I had friends all over the city, and suburbs, and went to about 6 or 7 different congregations when I spent the night with a friend. They were all much the same as my own. Things were just different in the 50's and early 60's.

    You are a bit younger, than I am, but the midwest was probably more conservative than the Northwest.

  • Mulan

    Yes Mulan how did you escape under the circunstances that affected all of us, how could you be popular when we were forbidden to associate with classmates?

    I got married in 1962, at 17, so I really think it was the times, and probably where I lived. Washington is a Liberal state, politically too. I was NEVER forbidden to associate with anyone. I think I recall it being discouraged, but my friends came to meetings with us sometimes, and it was just no big deal. I do remember getting an invite to the Senior Prom when I was a sophomore, and I didn't want to go with the guy who asked me, so I said I wasn't allowed to date outside my religion. My mother told me I shouldn't have lied to him, and wanted me to go to the prom, but I didn't.

    I didn't go overboard on the worldly friends and dating thing though. I knew I would never marry a worldly guy, so it was always just fun dates from high school, to games or school dances or to play tennis or out with a group for burgers. My parents always knew the kids and they came to the house first for "inspection" I guess.

    Another thing that may have made a social difference is that in the Seattle area, there were scores and scores of young people, and we all knew each other, or someone made sure we met everyone. We had monthly get togethers, either a dance or just a food fest, or in the summer a big beach party at the park or a pool or a barbecue in someone's large back yard. One of the families had a large party room in their house and we had lots of dances there. There were always lots of chaperones, and it was totally on the up and up. Once there was a get together I hadn't heard about, for some odd reason, so one of the guys drove 20 miles to get me when I didn't have a ride. The party had already started when they called to see where I was. He brought his teenage sisters so it was cool. I spent the night with his sisters, so he didn't have to drive me home so late after the party. We all stayed up very late, and were groaning into the pillows Sunday morning when their mother woke us to go out in service. Never got a break from that either.

    One Winter (I think 1961) we had an unusually (for Seattle) hard, cold Winter, and the lakes froze over. We got a big group together and went ice skating on the smaller lakes and had a bonfire on the beach. Lots of parents, but it was for the teenagers. I think they realized in those days that we needed that association.

    After the circuit assemblies, there was always a party, and it was "where is it?" not "is there a party?"

    I remember some great times back then. We all took turns hosting the parties. I'll be there were 100 teenagers. Most of them are still JW's too, and all of the above is probably a big reason why they stayed.

  • momzcrazy

    AK Jeff, reading your story was like looking back on my own childhood! I was shocked. I was a true social retard in school, and barely better at the Hall. My friends in school were other outcasts, immigrants from Laos come to mind. Also a friend from Pakistan. After going all thru school with most of the same kids, I still had a hard time relating to them. Kids I had seen everyday in school my whole life and I could barely communicate with them!

    I also was a late bed wetter. I endured doctor visits and it was finally beat out of me with my dad's belt. I dreamt of flying. I would run and run and finally just lift off and fly! Also the naked in class dreams.

    I am forever grateful that my kids are far from socially retarded. They can converse with school kids the same as a famous person. They are cute and smart and have tons of friends.

    Yet I have no doubt at all they will find something to complain about in therapy!



    I usually ride on bike and had problems with kids on the road and have a good reason to speak in favor of Jehovah's Witnesses and their kids.

    Suppose I am facing this choice when returning home on bike . There is one street where kids of Jehovah's Witnesses are standing and there is another one where kids from all nominal christian religions are standing. Which way would I choose ? Without any hesitation I would choose the former !

  • BizzyBee

    I usually ride on bike and had problems with kids on the road and have a good reason to speak in favor of Jehovah's Witnesses and their kids.

    Suppose I am facing this choice when returning home on bike . There is one street where kids of Jehovah's Witnesses are standing and there is another one where kids from all nominal christian religions are standing. Which way would I choose ? Without any hesitation I would choose the former !

    With all due respect Obves - SHUT UP! YOU PRESENT AS AN IDIOT! You may be a very intelligent man - but you come across as a few sandwiches (and a watermelon)short of a picnic.

  • BizzyBee

    Washington is a Liberal state, politically too.

    What the hell has that ever had to do with being a JW? JW's don't care about political nuances. I grew up in California where we elect movie stars to govern us! But as a JW I was taught to be in the world, "but not part of the world."

    I was NEVER forbidden to associate with anyone.

    WHY? Everytime I wanted to go to a party, bake cookies with a school chum, have a friend over, or participate in any school activity I was told "Bad associations spoil useful habits." Remember that one?

    Somehow, the idea that there were different pockets of JWs with different rules negates my childhood suffering which was very real and very painful and life-destroying. My parents were not even 'good witnesses' - but I had a huge extended family of POs, COs, MS's, elderettes, etc. I cannot concieve of being allowed worldly friends, dating worldly boys, or - ! -encouragement to attend high school, let alone college!

    Sorry, but I am perplexed.

  • Tyrone van leyen
    Tyrone van leyen

    Dang Bizzy Bee, those bullshit lines were used on me when I asked why I could not go to my graduation. Looks like they sure made the rounds and went a long way with that weak crap. How is it bad association, if I have been going to class with these people for the last 4 years . I worked hard in advnced and finshed with a 75% average taking 8 courses and there was no rewards whatsoever. There were no rewards for good behaviour, a job well done, no vacations. You just wouldn't beleive it.

    A beautiful girl from my drama class even aked me to take her to the prom. Sorry dear, " Bad association spoils useful habits. I asked my brothers to drive me to the school anyway, and watched her go in with another guy while. It's like watching your life pass you by! The witnesses even banded together to keep me from my first concert. It wasn't black sabbath or alice cooper, Just Corey Hart for Christ sake! My whole family Kiboshed it and the elders too.

    It must be a real power trip dor the elders and my father to have that kind of control. I remember saying to my father Hey dad everyones doing something tonight and I wanna do something too. His response was, read a book. If thats not all, he wanted to put me in law school at Osgoode Hall in Toronto. Oh thats just great. No social life and now I can bury my nose in dry legal texts for the next 20 years while attending meetings and having no social life whatsover. There was zero consideration for my social life or feelings or any kind of pressure they could heap on me. It was an absolute power trip for them.

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    So, Tyrone, did you get that law degree? Maybe we could all band together and sue the bastards!


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