Anyone use to have horrible nightmares as a child & afriad of the dark due to all the Watchtower Society talk of Demons and Satan??

by mind blown 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • Socrateswannabe

    In a way, it's infuriating to read these posts, since, as Laverite expressed it, it is a form of child abuse and as usual, the Org gets away with it. But for me, it's also somewhat cathartic. Beginning with some of my earliest recollections as a young child and continuing into my teens, nightmares and irrational fears of demons and retribution from "Jehovah" were a terrifying part of my life. The catharsis comes in now knowing that I'm not the only one who was wrecked by all of this.

    I can blame my irrational fears on three things: 1.) The Society's literature of the time (Paradise book as some have mentioned, WT articles of the same ilk, "Then is Finished the Mystery of God" book, "Babylon the Great Has Fallen" book, etc., 2.) A fire-and-brimstone congregation servant (forerunner of the PO/COBOE). This guy took every opportunity to describe in detail what he thought would happen to the wicked at Armageddon (eyes rotting in sockets, etc.), and of course, I imagined myself, even at 6 years old, as very wicked. Finally, I can thank my hypocritical quasi-JW parents, who reveled in demon stories and told them as entertainment around the dinner table. There was nothing I could do to stop the congregation servant from spitting his vitriol or the Society from doing it's fear-mongering, but I repeatedly begged my parents not to tell demon stories in front of me. They thought that was funny, so even when I would leave the room, they'd manage to torment me with them the next chance they got. Nice folks, both in good standing with the organization!

    When I was about 16 years old, I discovered that if you become drunk enough, neither demons nor divine retribution are scary. Thus began a 20 year love/hate relationship with alcohol. By the way, booze also dulls feelings of guilt, which I had plenty of.

    It was only when I reached my 30's that I woke up to the fact that Witness teachings, the bible in general, my congregation servant of so long ago, and my imbecilic parents, are the real demons in this whole mess. Once that idea was firmly in place, I was no longer in mortal dread of the unknown, and I had the internal fortitude to stop drinking altogether (20 years sober).

    I am still an active Witness, not because I believe any of what they teach, but because I can't bear to sever ties with my family (my REAL family--wife and kids). So there is some guilt there because of living a lie, but it's manageable. Thanks to Mind Blown for starting this thread. I am not alone!

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    Yes! I most certainly had terrors and nightmares. The orange book was so graphic. It wasn't always bad but just as I hit my preteens, the WT went through a demon exaggeration campaign. Strangely, even when I was so young, I sensed there was some sexual repression in the accounts. The moment of clarity was a WT article that explained how a male demon materialized next to a strong female Witness in her bed. It was so over the top. They lost my rational respect.

    I feared the dark and looked behind shower curtains and door hinges. Unkown to me, my younger sister was also having trouble sleeping and was surveying the room for demons, too. One of us could have gotten sleep.

    Life is scary enough to a kid without this junk. Abuse -- very clear. Serious abuse. To this very day, I need night lights on. They never described what a demon looked like, either. I discussed this with Madeleine L'Engle who wrote A Wrinkle in Time. Madeleine had this take that Satan must be extraordinarly attractive. Mick Jagger would be such a geek in comparison. So I surveyed every room at night yet I had no idea what the demon(s) would look like. Maybe they were there but I did not recognize them. One night I did see forms but I think I was in a strange sleep state.

  • ohiocowboy

    I used to have nightmares about Armageddon when I was a child. I also used to dream that crosses were chasing me and trying to hurt me. I guess it was from learning at such a young age that crosses were bad. I feel so bad for all those who have to grow up into such a fear filled cult.

  • Starr_Kachina

    I had an irrational fear of the dark as a child. I always slept with a nightlight on because I thought that even a hint of light would keep the Satan and the demons at bay. I also would fall asleep to the radio on an easy-listening station, however, my mother didn't want EVP coming through the radio, so she made sure it was set to turn off within an hour (it had a countdown timer for sleep).

    At the KH, I used to envision what I would do when anti-religious "terrorists" would burst through the doors with their machine guns and machetes and start butchering us. I would think to myself, "I have no where to hide when they come to kill us."

    I was afraid of everything... something that my MUCH older siblings teased me about. But they have no idea the kind of horrors that went through my mind all through childhood. I thought that I had to sleep on my right side because the left side was "evil." I still have no idea where I came up with that one.

    But yes, my youth was very warped much like everyone else that has posted on here.

  • bigmouth

    Nice to have you here Socrateswannabee, good work on the booze.

    And Welcome Starr Kachina - " I thought that I had to sleep on my right side because the left side was "evil." I still have no idea where I came up with that one. " - I vaguely recall the Catholics once having the concept of the left side being evil. Something to do with needing to beat left-handedness out of children. Might do a bit of research.

  • transhuman68

    From the 1958 'Paradise Lost' book pg. 74... the whole book creeped me out ...

  • jemba

    Welcome Socrates.

    Yes it is definetely a form of abuse feeding this shite to kids. I was the oldest of 5 kids all scared of the dark and obsessed with demons lurking somewhere to get us.

    But the big A was the biggest fear I had all my life and as someone else mentioned I even felt at 6 yrs of age that I wasnt worthy of everlasting life due to all the terribly naughty things I did. Of course JW parents dont help when they use armageddon at every opportunity to scare the hell out of you cause you complained about doing the dishes or something.

    Looks like Caleb isnt the only one scared of dissappointing Jeh and dying at armaggedon.

    It was a real eye opener when my own kids started to show fear about armaggedon or demons and I just didnt know how to explain it to them when I feared the same things myself.

  • not bitter
    not bitter

    Oh yes. I still have demon dreams now and I've been out of it 20 years. I don't beleive in demons any more but the fear must run deep.

    My mother is always horrified if I buy second hand furniture or books incase they're demonised.

    As a child, I didn't dream of demons so much but mostly about persecution, torture and concentration camps. I don't know which is worse.

  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    I wonder just how many ex jws and current have suffered the same. I cannot imagine it as it did not seem to effect me this way. I was facinated by the pictures, not tormented, saw armageddon as a good thing not a bad.

    Perhaps that all speaks loudly of how deep the programming was at the tender age of 10. I was joyed at the prospect of my father getting killed by Jehovah, we used to make jokes at his expense about it. I bought into the beliefs fastest of all syblings and stayed in the longest.

    I am today a very empathetic person, perhaps i should be surprised that i am in view of my upbringing.

    The WT truly is evil.


  • Chariklo

    As mentioned elsewhere, I had a nightmare about Armageddon the week before last, if that counts.

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