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!