Chris, that happened to a lot of JWs. Big pond, too few fish. It was the org that created so many fakes. The org does not encourage people to be who they really are.
Was Any Part of it Real?
But, the sake of discussion, you discover that that person you trusted and believed in was nothing but a facade? What if you discovered that they were lying not only to you but to themselves? And everything they were, everything they did was built upon a false facade?
It is one thing if they knowingly created a facade. It is another if their belief system is a facade, they unwittingly playing the pawn. I call a friend someone that is sincere, genuine...even if misguided. If this person knows they are a fake...not a friend. I believe that my close friends while in the religion were just that, friends...even if misquided like myself at the time.
And so I say again, it was never real. I was real. What I felt was real. The love and devotion were real. But at the end of the day you realize you can only control yourself and the only person you can really understand and believe in is yourself.
I have to agree with the bolded part, ultimately. But, idealist that I am, I do think that others have it in them to be a real friend, rare as it may be.
If you really think about it, many non-JW people make friends throughout their life but that does not mean those people will be their friends forever. People move away or just change. You can change as well. People go through phases.
Even though most of the "friendships" in the JW religion were phony garbage, there were a few people who I sincerely liked. However, because of their "loyalty" to the religion, they have retreated for the most part.
As for how much, if any, was real? Well, that's hard to say. I think at the time the friendships were sincere...in that moment. In a way, I consider most friendships in the religion to be like friendships on a secular job but with somewhat less judgmentalism.
But, I don't dwell on it very much because I have made a new life and I am older and my "head" is in a different place. I would not fit in with JWs anymore and don't want to. I want nothing to do with any other religion or movement either.
It is one thing if they knowingly created a facade. It is another if their belief system is a facade, they unwittingly playing the pawn. I call a friend someone that is sincere, genuine...even if misguided. If this person knows they are a fake...not a friend.
Interesting chicken/egg question. I think it's fear based. They are afraid to look at themselves and put up a facade, a false front and anything that is too frightening to look at they sort of pull a Scarlet O'Hara -- "I'll think about that tomorrow". And of course never do.
But over time I think some take down that false front and become who they really are. So circling back to my original question I think a relationship with that kind of person isn't real if it was based on a lie, a false front. I can say my feelings and behaviors were real, but not so much for the other person. The relationship itself was built on a flawed premise so in the end you let it go and move on.
" The relationship itself was built on a flawed premise so in the end you let it go and move on."
All the more ironic, since they warn of the dangers of building houses on foundations that aren't firm...
But yeah, people need to remember that true friends are different from family, work friends, religious friends, etc. Anytime power and control enters into the picture, things can get confusing.
Using Hassan's illustration of the two personalities in the same person, I would say that every JW has an authentic personality, usually subsumed by the cultic. With practice it is easy to spot the difference.
Conversation with the cultic, "Wasn't that a lovely talk?"
"Oh, yes, so lovely."
Conversation with the authentic personality, "You are a ham radio operator? I don't think I've ever met one before. What is that like?"
"Up where we are it is a great way to talk to people all over the world. My radio tower was a labor of love. It took me two summers to build."
Just by addressing the authentic personality in a Witness, I can help him emerge. I would say conversations you have had with THAT person were real.
I think a relationship with that kind of person isn't real if it was based on a lie, a false front.
I think I see what you mean. For me, the deciding factor on whether or not the person is a real friend is based largely on intuition...is this a 'false front', or have they let their guard down? I would like to think I remember having a few genuine friends that I could trust, have candid discussions with, and it was heart to heart. Maybe I was being naive, but I feel that the close friends I had were being the best friends they could be..considering that we were all being brainwashed together.
I can say my feelings and behaviors were real, but not so much for the other person.
Maybe they feel the same about you? Is it being honest to think you were more sincere than any of them? It is open to speculation, I guess.
The relationship itself was built on a flawed premise so in the end you let it go and move on.
Yes, built on a flawed premise, but it doesn't erase that something real could've evolved from it still. And yes I agree, in the end you let go and move on....that's where I felt much heartache...but had to be true to myself.
jgnat - I think the two pronged approach is interesting and helpful. When I was disfellowshipped I got a couple of cards from people telling me they loved me and were waiting for me to be reinstated, and this could be seen as very loving - they weren't really supposed to send cards, but in the same breath sad, the cards basically said their love was dependent on my repentance. Sending of cards - their human side, repeating the mantra of repentant and reinstatement, the affect of indoctrination and brainwashing.