Relationship Issues: Boundaries, Freedom of Choice and Codependency

by 00DAD 83 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • lost1

    Nuthouse Escapee - My JW ex used to use 'the silent treatment' on me. Worked for a long time, I would always cave. Then I woke up and realized this was a lack of unconditional love and disrespectful. It's been a valuable learning experience.

    Exactly what the ex did to me. I am still struggling with the control he had over me and today a bad day - has been in touch!! All good intentions out the window. Hate myself for the way he makes me feel and his control still.

  • 00DAD

    Quendi, some really interesting points you make. I especially liked the point about both Satan and Jehovah using the word "please" as a sign of respect for boundaries. Ironic, isn't it? Some things the brothers get right, but then they go off and miss the big issues!

    I would suggest a slight revision to one of your comments, " They [boundaries] are essential in all HEALTHY relationships since without them no HEALTHY relationship can exist because we do not recognize the other person as an individual . "

    Obviously we can have relationships where boundaries are not respected, just not good ones. They are dysfunctional, codependent and often abusive to one of the parties in the relationship. In reality everyone in a relationship suffers when appropriate boundaries are not respected.

    As you and I have commented here and elsewhere, WT culture, policies and practices deliberately supress the individual for the sake of the collective group. It is, I believe, a form of psychological violence to the soul of the individual.

    I'm definitely going to check out the two books you recommended, thanks!

    rip van winkle, ditto to what Quendi said.

    I also went back to school in my 40s and got my B.A. in Music Education. I was even serving as an elder at the time. I got some disapproving comments from a few people, but I pretty much flew under the radar and, although I wasn't secretive about it, I also didn't make a big deal about it. This was during one of the "it's a conscience matter" phases of the Society's position on Higher Education (HE). Some of the elders in my congregation even came to my Senior Recital!

    I'll never forget, a few months after I was awarded my degree we were having an elders' meeting and we read a letter from the WTBTS which changed the policy on HE to the currrent one where essentially no one can have "privileges" in the congregation if they are pursuing HE.

    I remember feeling several powerful emotions within a few short minutes. First I felt shame as if I had somehow done something wrong. Then I became angry because I was made to feel guilty about something that was acceptable only moments ago (before the letter was read).

    I had been having serious doubts about the organization for some time previously, and had become aware of serious flaws in the integrity of the WT Leadership. In particular, a couple of years before when I learned about the UN/NGO scandal my faith in the WT as "God's Organization" was severely shaken. But it was this letter changing the policy on HE that made me start looking for the door. I realized I was part of a controlling, manipulative group that hypocritically didn't follow their own mandates and capricioiusly changed doctrines and policies with complete disregard for the fallout and negative effects that resulted to the lives of the individual faithful R&F followers. They just didn't care.

    No one should make decisions for another person. That is a boundary violation. It's psychological and emotional trespassing. But the violation is worse when it comes from someone that allegedly is speaking for God, but in reality is a complete fraud and a sham.

    We can't go back and change the past. But we can learn from it. Certainly we all made some bad decisions based on trusting people that we now know were unworthy of our trust. Lesson learned.

    As Quendi said, " This is your life and you should enjoy it to the full. " Amen to that brother!


  • 00DAD

    lost1, you don't have to let your ex have control over you an longer.

    I'm not trying to minimize the situation because I know how it can be, but just as you learned to let him control you, you can learn to take back control of your own life. It's about setting, or in this case re-setting, appropriate boundaries.

    You can do this in a firm, strong and loving way. He may get upset, that's what controlling, manipulative people do when they don't get their way. They throw childish temper tantrums. Be prepared for it.

    But he IS your ex, right? Do you even have to talk to him? Or are you just commenting on how you felt even as a result of his getting in touch?


  • AuntBee

    000DAD: I'm SO glad you mentioned that book! It's an awesome book for anyone, and i can see how it applies to people who grew up JW in particular. As an 'outsider", this issue was something that i found just heart breaking in young JWs i and my kids have known fairly well in real life. The complete enmeshment is unbelievable. They are so smothered and controlled. Now they are in their twenties, and seem like little boys still in many ways. The CONTROL thing does NOT Work anyway, these guys have done "stuff" just like other teenagers, it's just that the parents don't know much about it. There are four of them, and last i heard, they all still live at home, aren't married or even close to it, none could support a family financially, not even close. :( For me as a parent, one of the most satisfying things is when kids MOVE OUT, and DO STUFF in life! These parents are missing out on one of the greatest pleasures and rewards, and what should be our GOAL - for them to make their own decisions, grow up, move out, move on, etc.

    Quendi: Thanks for those additional titles, they sound really interesting. I love this topic!

  • lost1

    00DAD - Definitely an ex. Just stirs up all these feelings. I read the posts on here and think I am so lucky as never got involved in the jw part of his life and compared to most on here I have been very lucky. That said I can relate to the controlling part of it. Being a COBE he knows just what to say/do to make me feel crap and useless. I need to be stronger and not reply/answer. I know this is the way he is being controlling. He says jump and I ask how high. Thanks for your advise.

    ps did a search on here for him and looks like he has annoyed someone else in the past.....

  • freeflyingfaerie

    These relationship issues are at the very core of it all.

    Born in, conditioned to squelch my own thoughts and feelings...made me fertile ground for yet another controlling relationship, my marriage at age 20.

    We will tolerate so much once our sense of self has been fooled with.

    I think it was Lady Lee on another thread that recommended a book Emotional Blackmail ~Susan Forward. I am now reading describes so well the cycles that develop in relationships. It happened to me with the religion...and it happened in my marriage.

    a quote from the book: "He also did what many people do when they are pressured by neediness or possessiveness. He misinterpreted it as a sign of how much she cared about him." That is what I did over and over. I thought jehovah/organization loved and cared about me sincerely. I thought my ex-husband's neediness and possessiveness were just overly passionate expressions of 'love' and efforts to keep us close.

    It is taking a lot of time and effort and patience to work all this out in myself. To realize all that happened to me over the years, and now learn how to create the life I want that includes healthier relationships.

    It is amazing the similarities that exist between unhealthy relationships with family/friends and the religion. And when we are susceptible to one, we are to the other as well.

    Healing, being kind to ourselves. We've been through a lot.

  • panhandlegirl
  • sizemik
    It is, I believe, a form of psychological violence to the soul of the individual.

    A form of violence more akin to slow strangulation . . . as far as healthy relationships go. Something at the core just withers and dies. I've known some Ex-Jw's who have become very untrusting and reclusive . . . but their fear also stems from not having a normal societal experience and a huge lack of confidence as a result.

    We can't go back and change the past. But we can learn from it. Certainly we all made some bad decisions based on trusting people that we now know were unworthy of our trust. Lesson learned.

    It's a very critical point you make Dan . . . and it takes thinking it through to fully benefit. A careful deconstruction of the whole experience however, can actually give us the confidence we need. I find now days that the subtle signs given off by the disingenuous ring loud and clear (for some reason I always think of the JW's). Dealing with it appropriately and finding the trust balance again comes with a bit of effort (and help if necessary), as you are obviously finding.

    Good angle . . . great contributions here.

  • panhandlegirl

    I remember that when I was just 18, one of my longtime friends (she was 19), who was married to an elder, told me that because my husband was not active in the "truth", the other elder brothers could tell me and counsel me on

    whatever they wanted . And, believe me they did! Once the presidieng overseer and my friend's elder husband, took me to the back room and gave me a good talking to because my friend had overheard me ask my older

    sister-in-law if I could go to her house for lunch after field service. I was lonely and had only recently left my parent's home. I was not used to being alone, without my mom and younger brothers. Needles to say, I cried all the

    way home.These elders were in their forties. That incident is just a small way in which the elders and their wives inserted themselves into my and other's lives. Having been in the borg all my life and my mother always telling me

    I had to respect the elders and listen to them, it took me a couple of decades to finally tell them to take this religion and shove it. Those elders did not recognize any boundries. The PO in the cong where I grew up in even told me

    that he had given all the names of the young people in our cong to the chief of police in our town with the instructions to call him if any of us did anything wrong, or got into trouble. How's that for overstepping boundries!

  • flipper

    I'm glad to see this thread doing well and gaining comments and opinions ! This issue of boundaries being infringed upon and freedom of choice being infringed upon actually was one of the telling features that caused me to exit the JW cult about 9 years ago. I had elders giving me advice that was NOT in the WT publications, was NOT in the Bible, they just pulled opinions out of their buttocks to use against me to manipulate me due to their alleged " power positions " they think they held over me. Opinions that were unethical, wrong, and unloving towards myself and my teenage children at the time . And THAT was quite an eye opener for me. To see that the elders didn't REALLY care about peace in my family or me wanting to split with my then dangerously abusive Methamphetamine addicted wife who was a danger to my teenage JW children. The elders were just concerned about " appearance " to the congregation and outsiders and wanted me to stay in a dysfunctional , dangerous marriage. Which would have endangered my teenagers and myself had I stayed in the marriage.

    Then when I read in the family book that it stated that " it's a personal decision between married couples to stay together or not and they'll have to answer to Jehovah for that. " And it continued, " no one in the congregation should condemn a brother or sister for separating, including elders as it's a PERSONAL decision for the couple. Only the married couple knows for sure the details of what goes on many times in a marriage. " Then I knew that these elders were being presumptuos and incorrect by infringing on what SHOULD have been a personal decision for only ME to make !

    So , after these 3 elders met with me, I went to my seat before the meeting, picked up my books and walked out of the kingdom hall, never to return. It's like suddenly after 44 years in the cult at age 44 the scales had fallen from my eyes and I no longer held the elders in reverance anymore as I had been trained to do from birth as a JW. I told myself " these guys no more have any semblance of holy spirit than me pulling an elephant from my a$$ . " And I walked out with a clean conscience and a brand new start on life from there forward ! And life is great ! I've been much happier these last 9 years coming out and escaping the WT society's control mechanisms through elders or anybody else trying to control me. Just thought I'd share my story briefly. All I can say is everybody ENJOY YOUR FREEDOM OF MIND ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper

Share this